No matter how long Darryl De Sousa remains the commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, regardless of his successes and failures, his tenure began with a torrent of traumatic testimony coming out of federal court.
It is testimony he called sickening and worst of all, the public's belief that just maybe, that is a Baltimore policing norm.
"I apologize on behalf of the police department, and I am going to do a formal apology really soon, but it's awful. It damaged the badge....It does keep me up at night and I sit back and think like, where did we mess up? Did we have strong enough checks and balances? And, I don't think we did," De Sousa said.
The acting commissioner says he plans a public apology on behalf of the department to the city for the wrongs of the Gun Trace Task Force, but he wants people to know he is working to fix it beginning with deconstructing how Wayne Jenkins and company we able to operate.
"We have the names. We have every single name that came out of the GTTF trial,” De Sousa said, “We have those case folders in hand. We are determining who gets suspended, we are determining which investigation on them gets prioritized. In addition to that I have been in contact with the FBI and the FBI is going to do an after-action report. They are going to sit down with my command staff and we're gonna talk about what took place from the beginning of the investigation to the end."
De Sousa is seeing what many feel is rock bottom as an opportunity.
He wants to find the loopholes the GTTF used and close them by implementing random integrity and polygraph tests along with abiding by the consent decree, an agreement he calls mission critical.
"It's a lot Brian. There's a lot of pieces we have to put together and I need to reassure the community that we are going to be very meticulous in how we do it and we need to make sure and I am going to make sure that we bring the community into this conversation."
And that includes the still unsolved murder of Homicide Detective Sean Suiter.
De Sousa is a new set of eyes on a case that still haunts a city but he too is calling for even another look.
[Have you seen the evidence and based on that evidence and your 30 years in this department, do you have an idea on what you think happened?] “I have an idea but I am not gonna share right now,” De Sousa responded, “But I can tell you I am bringing an independent, outside source to come in and take a look at it….I hope it tells us what happened. I hope it tells us, these two theories that are out there, I hope it dispels one or the other and it just leads us in a direction that Baltimore needs to know, that he community deserves to know and tells us the truth. A lot of people don't like to hear the truth but whatever the truth is I think we need and have a responsibility to share that with the community. "
As far as the current crime fight goes, De Sousa says he is encouraged with the results he has seen so far.
No homicides in a stretch of 12 days was a solid achievement he says, but cautions there is and will be much more work ahead.
The confirmation hearings for Darryl De Sousa at city hall are scheduled for next Wednesday.