On Friday morning, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced that she had fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and replaced him with Deputy Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa. Below is local reaction.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby:
“I thank Kevin Davis for his service and wish him the best in his next endeavor. I look forward to working with Designate Commissioner De Sousa and continuing the partnership with the Baltimore Police Department that is necessary to tackle violent crime in our city."
City Council President Jack C. Young:
“I stand firmly behind Mayor Pugh’s decision to appoint 30-year veteran Darryl De Sousa as Baltimore’s Police Commissioner-Designate.
I have known Darryl for a very long time, and I believe his appointment will be greeted warmly throughout the police department and the City of Baltimore.
Darryl is a student of community policing and understands that the way forward will require a concerted reconciliation process to help repair trust between the department and the public at large.
The road ahead will be difficult, but members of the City Council stand ready to partner with Mayor Pugh, Commissioner Designate De Sousa and the men and women of the police department as we continue the process of reforming policing practices in our city.”
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the police union:
“We congratulate Mayor Pugh on her decision to elevate Deputy Commissioner Darryl De Sousa to the position of Police Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department. Our agency, and our city, are at a crucial moment in its history and the need for strong leadership has never been greater. Commissioner Designee De Sousa has a long and valued career with the BPD and we are looking forward to continuing our mission with his very capable guidance. For too long, our members have been working under extremely difficult circumstances, including mandatory 15 hour shifts, and their morale has suffered greatly. We are confident that this encouraging modification at the very top of our command structure will bring about the positive changes that will allow us to achieve our mission of violence reduction for the citizens of Baltimore.”
City Councilman Brandon Scott via Twitter:
“@MayorPugh 50 has made a great choice in Commissioner De Sousa! Looking forward to working with him to make #Baltimore a safer city.”
State Sen. Bill Ferguson:
“I strongly support Mayor Catherine Pugh's decision this morning to set a new direction for the Baltimore Police Department. I appreciate Commissioner Davis' service over the last two years. But, our City is not at a place that is acceptable, and leadership matters. The pace of improvement has been too slow, and we have needed a new direction for the police force.
I am also hopeful about Commissioner-Designate De Sousa's appointment. He is a 30 year veteran, City resident who has risen through the ranks of the BPD. During this morning's press conference, Commissioner-Designate De Sousa expressed the type of urgency around violence reduction that we need.
We have a long way to go, yet I remain more hopeful today that our City's best days are ahead of us.”
Del. Curt Anderson, chair of the Baltimore City delegation:
“It’s a tough job. It’s a tough, tough job, especially when you go through a year like the one last year. It’s just that it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t quick enough. ...
[De Sousa] has made acquaintances and friends in every rank that he has gone through, he is a person well known to the rank-and-file. If they’re going to think anybody has their backs, they ought to think that this guy does because they know him. ….
The big challenge is to restore the trust that has been lost by the police in some communities. In the majority of the communities, the police are wanted, trusted, loved. But there are still many places where folks have a distrust of the police. And that needs to be resolved.”
City Councilman Ryan Dorsey via Twitter:
“While the firing of Davis is certainly a good thing, and I’m optimistic about the new Commissioner, let’s not forget that policing doesn’t solve Baltimore’s problems, and the police budget still ties up the money we need elsewhere to actually fix things.”
State Sen. Nathaniel McFadden on the hiring of De Sousa:
“The mayor made a wonderful decision. She’s impatient. I’m impatient. My constituents are impatient. … [Davis] served under some very difficult circumstances.”
State Sen. Joan Carter Conway:
“Commissioner Davis is a good person and he worked hard, but we are in a quagmire.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF) president and director-counsel:
"I would like to thank Commissioner Kevin Davis for his unyielding commitment to the important consent decree process that we all hope will result in meaningful policing reform in our city. Commissioner Davis was vocal and clear, at key moments over the last year, about the importance of the consent decree and his commitment to abide by its provisions. Commissioner Davis recognized that building trust between the community and the Baltimore Police Department requires a commitment to the promotion of constitutional policing practices, and meaningful and respectful engagement with the community. We look forward to working with Commissioner De Sousa and trust that he will bring the same commitment to the consent decree process and to community-oriented reform.”
Former City Councilman Bobby Curran on De Sousa:
“He’s going be a good fit. I worked with him hand-in-hand. From my observation, he had the respect of his underlings and he always had good outcomes when I presented him with issues from the community. I told him he would be commissioner one day.”
Open Society Institute — Baltimore:
The Open Society Institute – Baltimore thanks Commissioner Davis for his service and for his deep commitment to improving the Baltimore Police Department. His direct engagement with the consent decree process, his partnership on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, and his dedication to building trust between the department and the communities it serves demonstrate his willingness to engage in the difficult but essential work of police reform. We look forward to working with Commissioner De Sousa as he continues to transform policing in Baltimore. Together, we can create a city where residents are safe and respected.
Greater Baltimore Committee President and CEO Donald C. Fry:
“The Greater Baltimore Committee agrees with Mayor Catherine Pugh that public safety, reducing violent crime and homicides, and restoring trust between the neighborhoods and Baltimore Police Department must be the city’s top priority. The most basic responsibility of government is to provide for the safety and well-being of its citizens. I commend the Mayor for taking bold action to stem the public safety crisis that has plagued the city. The Mayor’s selection of Deputy Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa is an excellent one. He is very capable of providing strong leadership to the Baltimore Police Department.
”“He is widely respected by fellow officers, and has a deep understanding of the difficult challenges police officers face in the fight against violent crime.”
Lt. Kenny Butler, vice president of the police union:
“It's like any police commissioner. They have a very tough job. Davis came in on the end of [Anthony] Batts’ tenure and we were on an uptick in violence. With the consent decree and the civil unrest, I think Davis just came in at a very, very tough time.”
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Baltimore Sun reporters Erin Cox, Pamela Wood and Yvonne Wenger contributed to this article.