The public's trust and the charges against De Sousa
BALTIMORE --WBFF -- When Darryl De Sousa was sworn in as commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department he stressed his top priorities would be reducing crime and restoring the public's trust.
The Commissioner is now on paid leave and facing federal charges after accusations he failed to file his tax returns.
"It's one thing on top of the other for the citizens of Baltimore," said Roger Hartley, Dean of University of Baltimore's College of Public Affairs. "Everyone wants things to settle down and the police are trying so hard to rebuild trust after all of the many problems.
Hartley is talking about Baltimore's consent decree. A mandate for police reform after a 2015 investigation by the US Department of Justice uncovered unconstitutional and discriminatory policing in the city.
Then, most recently the federal trial uncovering corruption within the department's gun trace task force.
De Sousa was sworn in as Commissioner around the time of the trial and it was then he apologized on behalf of the department and listed rebuilding the public's trust as a top priority.
"This was a fresh, exciting guy who was a reformer," commented Hartley.
Crime has gone down under Commissioner De Sousa's rule, after a record number of homicides per capita in 2017.
A statistic many aren't overlooking when learning about the charges against the Commissioner.
Still, Hartley warns how lack in trust can impact policing and crime reduction.
"Community trust and policing is really critical," said Hartley. "To have victims of crimes be willing to report a crime, and to have people be willing to work with police and help them track down offenders. "
Hartley also stressed any kind of shake-up in leadership could disrupt what's been happening in the last few months.
"If he (De Sousa) resigns or is fired then they have to find another chief of police," explained Hartley. "It places a lot of uncertainty in a department that was already trying to rebuild itself. You have officers who are trying to do their job and looking for leadership."
De Sousa remains on suspension with pay.