DAVIS OUT: Pugh replacing Kevin Davis with deputy commissioner Darryl DeSousa

DAVIS OUT: Pugh replacing Kevin Davis with deputy commissioner Darryl DeSousa

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- Mayor Catherine Pugh announced on Friday that she is replacing Police Commissioner Kevin Davis with Deputy Commissioner Darryl DeSousa, citing the rise in crime.

Pugh says DeSousa will replace Davis, effective immediately. Following appropriate approval, his appointment will be permanent.

"As I have made clear, reducing violence and restoring the confidence of our citizens in their police officers is my highest priority,” said Mayor Pugh. “The fact is, we are not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the City of Baltimore. "

DeSousa is a native of New York City and moved to Baltimore in 1983. He was a student at Morgan State University but deferred the completion of his degree to join the Baltimore Police Department in 1988. He later received his degree in 1997.

"I am deeply honored by the Mayor’s confidence in me at this critical time in the life of our City. Her relentless efforts to reduce crime and insist on new ways of collaborating across districts as well as with city agencies to target violence and its causes are invigorating certainly for me, but also for our entire force,” said Commissioner-Designate DeSousa. “Baltimore has long been my home and I’ve spent my career on its streets and in its neighborhoods to address problems and bring about solutions that are meaningful for the people we serve. I am committed to this important work more than ever and look forward to validating the trust of Mayor Pugh, my fellow officers and most importantly, the citizens of Baltimore each and every day.”

Davis was appointed as commissioner in 2015 by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The mayor fired then Commissioner Anthony Batts after a surge in murders following Freddie Gray's death and city riots. Davis, who was Deputy Commissioner under Batts, was named interim commissioner. When Mayor Catherine Pugh took office, she opted for Davis to stay.

In her announcement of DeSousa, Pugh expressed thanks for Davis:

"I am grateful to Commissioner Davis for all that he has done to implement the initiatives underway to address violent crime at it root causes. I speak for the entire community in expressing our admiration and gratitude for his service to Baltimore and for his leadership of the women and men who put their lives on the line to serve and protect our citizens.”

Davis has an extensive police background, working for the Anne Arundel County Police Department and Prince George's County Police Department in the past.

City Councilman Brandon Scott praised the mayor's decision on Twitter, saying DeSousa is a great choice.

City Council President Jack Young issued a statement on Twitter saying in part, " I stand firmly behind Mayor Pugh’s decision to appoint 30-year veteran Darryl DeSousa as Baltimore’s Police Commissioner-Designate."

“I have known Darryl for a long time, and I believe his appointment will be greeted warmly throughout the police department and the City of Baltimore." Young said. The road ahead will be difficult, but members of the City Council stand ready to partner with Mayor Pugh, Commissioner Designate DeSousa and the men and women of the police department as we continue the process of reforming policing practices in our city.”

Baltimore ended 2017 with 343 homicides, the most in the city's history per capita.

This story will be updated

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