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New commissioner may be the answer

Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham, both of Viva House, talk about two shootings in 1995 in which now-Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa was involved. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun video)

Finally, Baltimore has a police commissioner who lives in the city, who can find his way around Baltimore without a GPS, who is not afraid of the city and attended a college imbued in the history and fabric of Baltimore (“New Baltimore Police commissioner De Sousa touts success of first days of ‘Operation Blitz,’” Jan. 22).

The Baltimore Sun quoted the new top cop’s statement: “Baltimore has long been my home and I’ve spent my career on its streets and in its neighborhoods to address problems and bring about solutions that are meaningful for the people we serve.” Wow, the new commissioner sounds like he cares — and he lives in Baltimore. Good move, Mayor Catherine Pugh. A decisive move surely based on more than just “impatience.”

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In any bureaucracy, the issues are not solely at the top. They swim below top management with those deputies, assistance commanders or commissioners, chiefs and supervisors within the bureaucracy. Some upper salaried people work only for a paycheck instead of working to serve all the people of Baltimore.

The Sun also reported that on Friday morning, the department’s other two deputy commissioners, Dean Palmere and Jason Johnson, had their access to police headquarters cut off, according to sources — “signaling a larger purge of top commanders who were put in key leadership roles by Davis.” According to The Sun, the sources said confusion was rampant on Friday within the department, as other commanders had their access to the building, and to their computers and cellphones, cut off as well. Mr. Palmere has headed the criminal investigations bureau, and Mr. Johnson ran the strategic services bureau.

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There are still some stinking fish in the ranks. Some dangerous unscrupulous officers still patrol with the protection of a badge, blue uniform and law. Some officers come to Baltimore for safari. Some need to go back to where they live and work there. The way to navigate is not to turn Baltimore City into a police state.

Bill Curtis, Baltimore

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