Following one of the most violent years in Baltimore's history, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she fired Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Deputy Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa will replace Davis as the department's 40th police commissioner, effective immediately. De Sousa is a 30-year veteran of the force.
The mayor's office sent a press release making the announcement on Friday morning.
In the release, it says a decision needed to be made to reduce violence and crime in the city. Pugh said in a news conference on Friday that Davis worked hard, but she was getting impatient and she wants to see homicide numbers drop.
She also released the following statement,
“As I have made clear, reducing violence and restoring the confidence of our citizens in their police officers is my highest priority. The fact is, we are not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the City of Baltimore. As such, I have concluded that a change in leadership is needed at police headquarters. I firmly believe that Commissioner-Designate De Sousa has the ideas, approach and demonstrated track record that will enable him to lead an accelerated effort to get criminals off our streets, reduce violence and restore safety – and peace of mind – throughout our neighborhoods. As one who has come up through the ranks, Commissioner-Designate De Sousa is widely respected by his fellow officers. Moreover, I have come to know him well during this past year given his leadership role in implementing the Violence Reduction Initiative and through our numerous other interactions. I am grateful to Commissioner Davis for all that he has done to implement the initiatives underway to address violent crime at it root causes. I speak for the entire community in expressing our admiration and gratitude for his service to Baltimore and for his leadership of the women and men who put their lives on the line to serve and protect our citizens.”
De Sousa also spoke during the conference. He said,
"The priority as of this moment right now is really simple. Violent reduction. Second priority, violent reduction. Third priority, violent reduction."
He also announced he is putting more uniformed officers on the streets to help put his plan into action. Each officer will have a specific mission on their shift aimed at reducing violence.
“We are coming after them,” De Sousa said of ‘trigger pullers’. "We are doing this ASAP. The citizens in Baltimore should expect to see a reduction in crime." He added he is a fan of "hot spot policing," where officers patrol high crime areas.
His new initiative focusing on violence reduction started at 9:30 Friday morning.
53-year-old Darryl De Sousa is a native of New York City and moved to Charm City in 1983. He was a student at Morgan State University but deferred the completion of his degree to join the Baltimore City Police Department in 1988. He eventually earned his degree in Applied Liberal Arts in 1997.
The following statement was released from De Sousa,
“I am deeply honored by the Mayor’s confidence in me at this critical time in the life of our City. Her relentless efforts to reduce crime and insist on new ways of collaborating across districts as well as with city agencies to target violence and its causes are invigorating certainly for me, but also for our entire force. 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. I am committed to this important work more than ever and look forward to validating the trust of Mayor Pugh, my fellow officers and most importantly, the citizens of Baltimore each and every day.”
Officer De Sousa has held every position within the department over the years. He was appointed Detective Sergeant in the Northeast District of Baltimore in 2001 and moved to the Cyber-Crimes Unit, Organized Crime Division in 2003. He has also been Lieutenant Shift Commander in the Southeast District, Deputy Major, Assistant Commanding Officer, Commanding Officer of the Northeast District, Lieutenant Colonel, Area Commander of the Neighborhood Patrol Division, Colonel, Chief of Patrol, and Deputy Police Commissioner.
City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement on De Sousa's appointment,
“I thank Kevin Davis for his service and wish him the best in his next endeavor. I look forward to working with Designate Commissioner DeSousa and continuing the partnership with the Baltimore Police Department that is necessary to tackle violent crime in our city."
De Sousa lives in Baltimore City and is a father of two grown children.
City Council President, Jack Young, made a statement on the change of command,
“I stand firmly behind Mayor Pugh’s decision to appoint 30-year veteran Darryl DeSousa as Baltimore’s Police Commissioner-Designate. I have known Darryl for a very long time, and I believe his appointment will be greeted warmly throughout the police department and the City of Baltimore. Darryl is a student of community policing and understands that the way forward will require a concerted reconciliation process to help repair trust between the department and the public at large. The road ahead will be difficult, but members of the City Council stand ready to partner with Mayor Pugh, Commissioner Designate DeSousa and the men and women of the police department as we continue the process of reforming policing practices in our city.”
A Tweet was also sent out by Councilman Brandon Scott.
— Brandon M. Scott (@CouncilmanBMS) January 19, 2018
De Sousa's appointment as Commissioner will be made permanent after approval from officials.