Baltimore Police commissioner search down to one candidate, Mayor Pugh says

The search for Baltimore’s next police commissioner is down to one candidate, Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday.

Pugh’s team is completing a background check on one final commissioner candidate, she said in an interview Wednesday at a media event to present construction updates at Broadway Market. She said the candidate’s name would be announced “shortly,” but declined to give a timeline.

“I don’t want to put a date on it because I just want to make sure … we turn him upside down and inside out,” she said.

Pugh originally planned to announce her pick for the top police spot by Oct. 31 — a date that came and went as Pugh said the vetting process continued.

A week ago, Pugh confirmed that Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald remained in the running, and a Texas news station reported investigators were visiting that state to research his background.

Fitzgerald emerged as a possible pick in mid-October, after a tweet from the account @bmoreprojects named Fitzgerald as Baltimore’s next police commissioner, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told a Dallas-area reporter that he was leaving his post for Baltimore when asked about the tweet.

At the time, Pugh said she still was vetting candidates for the commissioner’s post and would not confirm that Fitzgerald was her pick, nor that he was being considered.

The next commissioner will become Baltimore’s fourth police chief in a year, replacing interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle, who withdrew his name from the running for the permanent position.

Tuggle stepped in for Darryl De Sousa, who resigned in May amid charges he failed to file federal income-tax returns. De Sousa replaced Kevin Davis, whom Pugh fired in January.

Pugh’s pick for police commissioner must be approved by the City Council.

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

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