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The history of Baltimore police commissioners

The history of Baltimore police commissioners

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Baltimore's past police commissioners may be history, but they're still impacting present day policing.

Former FBI Agent Tyrone Powers says, "We are embarrassed by the constant change in police commissioners."

Just this week, Darryl De Sousa resigned after federal tax charges were filed against him.

His tenure as Baltimore's police commissioner appears to be the second-shortest in the City, according to BPD historical records.

Powers says, "We need a police commissioner that can reduce crime forever into the future."

Ed Norris is one of the nine men to hold the position since 2000.

Norris says, "My Mayor had different aspirations, and he achieved them."

The tenure of police commissioners or police chiefs has not been extensively studied.

Those who have looked into it, say chiefs and commissioners have a challenging job trying to please everyone.

The University of Colorado's Dr. Mary Dodge looked into the tenure of top cops after hearing concerns over the dangerously short tenures among some law enforcement leaders.

Dodge studied factors that contribute to the departure of chiefs. We asked about a national average.

Dodge says, "The average right now is three to four years, which is a little bit lower than what we found in our study."

In Baltimore, the average tenure has been lower.

Since 2000, Baltimore has seen nine men hold the position with an average tenure of 2 years and 1 month.

Who pays the price? Dodge says, "The citizens do and officers..."

Turnover can also affect the direction of a police department.

Norris says, "My strategy was different than my predecessor, and other people came in with different ideas than mine."

The difference now is Baltimore has a Consent Decree in place which contains reform measures that must met if Baltimore is to avoid further legal action.

Powers says, "I think in this situation, it's a little unique because we have a Consent Decree that says this is how you will police. I don't care who the commissioner is."

Whether the Consent Decree will reduce crime in the City remains an unknown.

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