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Davis is the perfect choice for city police chief

Baltimore's mayor made a wise choice in appointing Kevin Davis as the city's acting police commissioner ("Baltimore's new police commissioner has a full plate — and an opportunity," July 12). Mr. Davis and I both served as cabinet members to former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, where I saw first-hand the extraordinary turnaround of our county's embattled and demoralized police department under his leadership.

Mr. Davis is an innovator, preferring new solutions over the same old retreaded strategies. Thanks to him, officers in Anne Arundel County now carry Narcan, a medication that helps block heroin overdoses in emergency situations. When statistics showed most damages to police vehicles occurred while an officer was driving in reverse, he made sure new cars were equipped with backup cameras to help prevent accidents. These examples may seem trivial to a metropolitan police force, but it's this type of attention to detail which creates a culture of organizational excellence. Mr. Davis also instituted the use of dashboard cameras and is a proponent of body cameras.

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Mr. Davis' expertise goes beyond the suburban police forces of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. In 2014, the FBI chose Mr. Davis among top law enforcement officers throughout the world to participate in an exclusive leadership training program. He's spoken at national conferences about strategies to ensure safe interactions when police encounter suspects with mental illness.

In Anne Arundel, Mr. Davis was well-respected by the rank and file, because he stressed smart policing, accountability, and transparency — values that brought honor to those who wear the uniform. However he also wasn't afraid to take on the police union when archaic contract rules got in the way of good police work and doing the right thing. He publicly criticized the county's Fraternal Order of Police for collecting donations toward the legal defense of the Ferguson, Mo., officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. The lackadaisical attitudes described in Connor Meek's recent Baltimore Sun column ("Police add insult to injury after mugging," July 6) will not fly with Mr. Davis. Had he been in charge when Freddie Gray was illegally detained and killed in police custody, you can bet the officers responsible would have been investigated immediately, possibly avoiding the riots altogether.

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Most importantly, Mr. Davis understands that police are there to serve the community, to help create the stability that allows neighborhoods to thrive. He understands the need for police officers and the residents they serve to get to know one another. I would often see him reaching into his pocket to pull out a small notepad and jot down the details whenever he heard someone mention a community meeting or event. He spent countless hours meeting with neighborhood associations, service clubs, business groups and individual residents.

Kevin Davis is a class act, and Baltimore residents are in good hands. Hopefully the next thing to be removed will be the word "acting" from his title.

Scott Shaffer, Annapolis

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