Baltimore City Council expected to confirm Darryl De Sousa as new police chief

Acting Baltimore Police Chief Darryl DeSousa answers questions from the City Council last Wednesday evening before a confirmation hearing. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun Staff.
Acting Baltimore Police Chief Darryl DeSousa answers questions from the City Council last Wednesday evening before a confirmation hearing. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun Staff.(Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore City Council is expected to vote overwhelmingly Monday night to confirm Darryl De Sousa as the city’s new police commissioner.

“He has widespread support on the council,” said Lester Davis, spokesman for City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “We anticipate he’ll be confirmed on Monday.”


De Sousa, 53, appeared before the council’s executive appointments committee last week and outlined his plan to reform the police department. Committee members voted 5-0 to send De Sousa’s nomination to the full council.

The vote Monday follows the federal racketeering convictions this month of two former members of the corrupt police Gun Trace Task Force. Six other members had already pleaded guilty.

Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa apologized Wednesday for the crimes of a corrupt police squad and promised members of the City Council the scandal won’t happen under his watch.

“Are there bad or corrupt cops in the Baltimore Police Department? Yes, there are,” De Sousa testified. “Are we taking measures right now to find out who they are? Yes.”­

The scandal loomed over the hearing last week. De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the force, told council members watching the case unfold felt “like a Mike Tyson shot to the stomach.”

“It was probably the most awful thing I’ve seen here in my 30 years with the police department,” he said. “I would sincerely like to apologize for what they did to Baltimore, and I promise that this will not happen again.”

De Sousa said he planned to meet this week with the FBI to investigate allegations against other officers that emerged during the trial. He said the scandal will be used to develop a training curriculum for new officers. He has also said he will begin random polygraph testing and launch new units to expose corruption and to prevent overtime fraud.

De Sousa succeeds Commissioner Kevin Davis, who was fired last month by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh.

In other business, the council is set to approve legislation to rename the former site of a Confederate monument for Harriet Tubman.


Part of Wyman Park Dell where a statue of two Confederate generals stood for decades would be rededicated in honor of the Underground Railroad conductor and Union spy from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The council is expected to cast preliminary votes on:

  • Legislation to ban stores and restaurants from using the plastic foam containers commonly known as Styrofoam;
  • A bill that would require all senior officials in Baltimore’s government to live in the city;
  • A resolution to support millions in tax breaks that officials say will spur redevelopment of the Northwood Plaza shopping center;
  • A ban on construction of crude oil terminals as part of an ongoing effort to limit the number of oil trains passing through the city;
  • A bill that would bar restaurants from including sodas and other sugary drinks in kids’ meals, a move supporters say could improve children’s health.

Advocates for the kids’ meal legislation plan to hold a news conference before Monday’s vote.

“The science is clear: one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity is sugary drinks, and childhood obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and early death,” Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana S. Wen said in a statement.