Baltimore, MD – A member of the Maryland House of Delegates sent a letter to the mayor and police commissioner of Baltimore asking them to “disband and reconstitute” the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).
State Delegate Bilal Ali sent a letter to Baltimore Mayor Sharon Pugh and Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa citing the example of Camden, New Jersey, and recommending the dissolution of BPD, according to a tweet by Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance.
Ali’s request followed the conviction on Feb. 12 of two Baltimore police officers on racketeering charges, at the end of a years’ long investigation involving the members of BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force.
In his letter, Ali suggested copying Camden, New Jersey, which dissolved its police department in 2013, and started anew.
“It was a bold, nearly unprecedented decision, but it worked,” Ali said in the letter. “I write today to ask that Baltimore City’s leadership seriously evaluate Camden’s approach, and begin consideration on whether to disband and reconstitute BPD from the ground up.”
However, the mayor has no intention of giving up.
“I’m not disbanding the police department,” Pugh said at a press briefing on Wednesday morning.
“We’re trending downward. I think we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve appointed a new police commissioner, we have a 163-page report by the Department of Justice that requires us to reform the police department, and those are the things that we’ll continue to do,” she said.
Baltimore’s homicide rate reached 342 in 2017, the highest per capita that the city has ever seen, WJZ-TV reported.
Commissioner DeSousa announced several new appointments for his top command staff last Thursday in an interview with The Baltimore Sun.
He also announced the decentralization of the two units that investigate shootings and robberies across the city. The commissioner said he would be moving 80 detectives out of headquarters, and into the city’s nine district stations.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the location of the detective units have changed over the years, as the police commissioners were replaced. Former-Commissioner Kevin Davis moved all the detectives to their current location under one roof.
The new police commissioner was also considering bringing back plainclothes drug and gun enforcement units that the last commissioner had decommissioned.