No opposition as Batts confirmed by City Council

After less than a minute of discussion, the Baltimore City Council on Monday overwhelmingly confirmed Anthony W. Batts, the former police chief in Long Beach and Oakland, Calif., as Baltimore's newest police commissioner.

No one on the 14-member council voted against Batt's confirmation and only Councilman James Kraft abstained. He did not explain his position publicly.

Councilman William H. Cole IV, who held a committee meeting last week in which community members spoke both for and against the new commissioner, made the motion to approve Batts' nomination.

"We had a thoughtful exchange with the appointee," he said. "We ended up hearing more than three hours of testimony."

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young praised Cole's handling of the hearing.

"I am quite sure the public is very, very happy with the way he conducted that hearing," Young said.

Batts replaces Baltimore police veteran Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who retired earlier this year amid a historic drop in crime. Last year, Baltimore's homicide tally dipped under 200 for the first time since the 1970s. Bealefeld had led the department for five years.

Batts will receive a salary of $190,000. He's been on the job since September, weeks before the council vote. He spent 27 years with the Long Beach Police Department, before leading the Oakland Police Department for two years.

He already has made some moves, reinstating the rank of captain and helping talk a high-ranking commander out of retirement. Commanders also say he's putting an emphasis on foot patrols and intelligence.

In Baltimore, the police commissioner serves a six-year term. Batts will carry out the remainder of Bealefeld's term, which ends in 2014, and will be appointed to his own term that runs through 2020.

Batts' contract states that he could be allowed to seek outside paid employment with approval from the mayor's office. Batts also will be entitled to a $190,000 lump sum payout if his contract is terminated without cause.

Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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