Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts announced Friday the creation of a new unit to oversee internal affairs, audits and the writing of police procedures, a move he hopes will strengthen public confidence in his agency.
Jeronimo "Jerry" Rodriguez, a 26-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran, was named deputy commissioner in charge of the new Bureau of Professional Standards. Rodriguez will report directly to Batts and joins Deputy Commissioner John Skinner at the top level of Batts' staff.
While Skinner will continue to run day-to-day crime-fighting operations, Rodriguez will focus his attention internally, handling matters that affect department employees, including about 3,000 sworn officers.
"This new Bureau will focus on employee conduct from the basics of written directives and standard operating procedures, to a new general accountability office, which will continue to weed out non-compliant practices within the department," Batts said in a statement.
Rodriguez was chosen from a short list culled from the recommendations of other nationwide police leaders, Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Rodriguez, who is in the process of moving to Maryland, was not available for comment.
His unit will begin with some high-profile cases on its plate.
This week, a federal grand jury indicted a Baltimore officer accused of being part of an armed conspiracy to distribute drugs. On Thursday, the state's attorney's office declined to prosecute three detectives involved in a drug arrest that resulted in the death of Anthony Anderson; they now face an internal affairs investigation.
Several other officers remain suspended because of a kickback scandal involving a Rosedale towing company and auto body shop.
In the Los Angeles Police Department, Rodriguez served in the Force Investigation Division, Internal Affairs Group and Office of Inspector General.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Rodriguez immigrated with his family to the United States in December 1969 at the age of 6, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He grew up in Los Angeles County. As Baltimore deputy commissioner, he will make $130,000 a year, Guglielmi said.
The Bureau of Professional Standards will include a new Office of the Inspector General, which does not yet have a defined role, Guglielmi said. The General Orders and Written Directives Unit, which writes police policy, will also fall under the bureau, as will the Police Inspections Unit.
Chief Grayling Williams, who joined the department a year ago from the Drug Enforcement Administration, will continue to head up Internal Affairs. He will report to Rodriguez, who will monitor the investigations of several police brutality or misconduct allegations that remain unresolved.
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