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Baltimore City Council to begin confirmation process for De Sousa next week

Darryl De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, takes questions at City Hall after replacing Kevin Davis as police commissioner.
Darryl De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, takes questions at City Hall after replacing Kevin Davis as police commissioner. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore City Council is set to formally begin the confirmation process for the new police commissioner at its meeting Monday.

Darryl De Sousa has been leading the department since last month, when the mayor ousted Kevin Davis over rising crime. But he needs the approval of the council to take over the job permanently.

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A public hearing on his nomination is not expected to take place until the end of the month.

De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the department, has said he plans to reorganize the department and launch new units to try to bring down violence in the city.

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The new commissioner has received a generally warm welcome from council members. While he faces lingering questions about a pair of shootings he was involved in, they seem unlikely to cause any problems for his confirmation.

Councilman Robert Stokes, the chairman of the committee that will handle De Sousa’s confirmation, appeared at the press conference where he was announced by the mayor. Afterwards he called him an “excellent choice.”

At the Monday meeting the City Council also is set to take up a resolution calling on the General Assembly and the governor to hand formal control of the police department to city authorities.

While the mayor appoints the commissioner, bargains with the officers’ union and sets the department’s budget, some the council and other local authorities can do little to directly implement changes.

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The Baltimore Police Department was established in the 19th Century as a state agency. It is governed by the Public Local Laws of Baltimore City, which are enacted by the General Assembly.

The resolution, sponsored by Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Public Safety Committee Chairman Brandon Scott, calls for the creation of a new board of police commissioners to over see the department.

Scott said giving local leaders more power over the department would let the council tackle overtime abuses and other problems.

“Folks want more oversight,” he said. “There needs to be a system of checks and balances that is not limited to a 90-day session in Annapolis.”

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