City leaders, residents weigh in on change of command at BPD

Pugh ousts Davis, appoints De Sousa
Posted at 11:29 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 23:29:17-05

The change in command at the Baltimore Police Department took many by surprise.  Early Friday morning, Mayor Catherine Pugh fired former commissioner, Kevin Davis and appointed 30 year veteran, Darryl De Sousa to the post. 

Davis was fired two years into his five year contract.  Commissioner -Designate De Sousa was one of Davis' deputies.

"Seems there needs to be shakeup and hopefully it does some good for the city," resident Luke Smith, told ABC2.

That notion underscores Pugh's decision to oust Davis.

"I want you to know that I worked side by side with Commissioner Davis, hard working, but I am impatient. We need violence reduction, we need the numbers to go down faster than they are," Pugh said at Friday's news conference. 

From the same podium, De Sousa vowed to make real change, something city leaders say Baltimore needs.

"We need to see our officers out there policing and constitutionally policing we don't want to see any of the issues that got us in trouble in the first place," Councilman Zeke Cohen told ABC2.

Friday afternoon and evening, the cities harshest neighborhoods seemed to be flanked by officers at every turn.  A promise made earlier in the day  by De Sousa.

"I have a real strong message for the trigger pullers. We are coming after them. It is going to be an accelerated pace. The district commanders in all nine districts know who they are and we are coming after them and I want to let everyone know it will be done in a constitutional manner," said De Sousa.

What he has planned isn't different from Davis' agenda, but some think the shakeup will make all the difference.

"I've been speaking to police officers all day, I've been speaking to activists from the community all day and so far what I'm hearing on Darryl De Sousa and someone as I've been watching as well, is all positive," Cohen said.

While it's too early to tell what effects the change in command will have, residents say the more eyes on crime the area has, the safer they feel. 

"Hopefully some new changes and it sounded like they were going to get some more cops on the street and hopefully that will cut down some of the crimes that have been happening," said Smith.

It's not clear if any other personnel changes will be made as a result of Davis' firing.