Col. Jesse Oden, who filed retirement paperwork last week, is staying after all
(Lloyd Fox - The Baltimore Sun)

One of the Baltimore Police Department's top commanders has reversed his decision to retire after meeting with the new commissioner-designate Anthony Batts, officials say.

Col. Jesse Oden, a 33-year veteran who oversees criminal investigations, filed paperwork to retire last week. Along with the absence of Acting Commissioner Anthony Barksdale, who is out "indefinitely" on medical leave, Batts was facing a transition without two of the agency's top four commanders.


Officials now say Oden has rescinded his retirement. "Col. Oden met this morning with Commissioner Batts, who laid out his vision," said Anthony Guglielmi, the police department's chief spokesman. "Col. Oden was inspired and wanted to be part of Commissioner Batts' plan to make Baltimore safer."

It's not clear whether Oden will take on a more prominent role. Batts is still evaluating the command staff, after having required top officials to re-apply for their jobs and write essays.

City Councilman Brandon Scott said the arm-twisting went beyond Batts. Scott said he and others had been lobbying Oden to return. "We put this on full blast mode, especially after Tony [Barksdale] making his decision," Scott said.

A possible clue that Oden was returning - he visited an anti-police rally in East Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon, where protesters spoke out against the in-custody death of 46-year-old Anthony Anderson.

The "unretirement" of Oden follows Batts hiring a chief of staff, communications consultant Judy Pal, who has worked for police departments in the United States and Canada. The chief of staff position had been left vacant under the previous administration, and Pal could serve in a role similar to Sheryl Goldstein, who worked closely with police on budget, policy and grants out of the mayor's office.