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Interim Police Commissioner Davis says he 'certainly' wants the job permanently

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said on his first full day in the position that he "certainly" wants the job permanently, and wouldn't have taken the interim post if he wasn't ready for it.

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said on his first full day in the position that he "certainly" wants the job permanently, and wouldn't have taken the interim post if he wasn't ready for it.

"This is something that I've prepared for my entire adult life," Davis said. "I've been a police officer since I was 22 years old. My experiences in Prince George's County and Anne Arundel County and now in Baltimore have prepared me for this opportunity, and I wouldn't have taken this job if I thought for one second that I couldn't do it.

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"It's a great honor, it's a great privilege and I'll come to work every day, one day at a time, and work very hard for the men and women of this community."

Davis made his comments during an afternoon visit to the offices of Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to talk with school children about law enforcement work.

Davis was appointed interim police commissioner by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Wednesday after the mayor fired Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

Rawlings-Blake said she made the decision because too much attention was being placed on Batts at a time when the focus should be on violent crime.

The mayor has not decided on the next steps for finding or appointing a permanent commissioner, or whether she is considering Davis for the job.

Batts had come under scrutiny for his leadership during recent unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April.

Gray's death spurred protests against police brutality, and rioting and looting broke out on the day of his funeral. Mosby subsequently charged six officers in Gray's arrest and death. All have pleaded not guilty.

Since then, the number of homicides and shootings in the city has risen dramatically while arrests have declined. Police union officials have said Mosby's actions have made officers afraid of being arrested for doing their jobs.

On Thursday, Davis said he considers Mosby a "partner."

Mosby said she met Davis on Wednesday and is excited to work with him.

Asked whether he had made any operational changes in his first 24 hours as Baltimore's top cop, Davis said he didn't want to rush into anything.

"I'm looking at everything under the umbrella of the police department, and I'll certainly make changes. I'm not going to make any knee-jerk changes or make changes for the sake of change, but I'm looking at everything," he said.

But he has made at least one change, he said — assigning Capt. Gordon Schluderberg on Thursday to "be in charge of any and everything that has to do with civil disturbance preparation."

Batts was heavily criticized in the police union's "after action review" for the department's handling of the unrest for not giving officers enough direction and not allowing them to respond to dangerous situations during the unrest without the proper equipment, according to officers involved.

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Making Schluderberg the department's point man for civil disturbance issues, Davis said, will better prepare it for the future — even if it takes another half-century for such unrest to occur in the city again, as it did after the rioting here in 1968.

"He's in charge of the training, he's in charge of the equipment, he's in charge of the memorandums of agreement that need to exist with surrounding agencies," Davis said. "He's the single point person in the civil disturbance training and equipment preparations that are going on right now, and I hope it's 47 more years before we ever need any of that stuff. But it's our responsibility and duty to the citizens to be prepared."

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