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Michael Harrison confirmed as new BPD Commissioner

harrison sworn in.jpg
Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 10:20:14-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — Members of the city council have approved Michael Harrison as the new Baltimore Police Commissioner.

Council members voted unanimously to confirm Harrison during the scheduled meeting on Monday evening, and on Tuesday Harrison made it official during his swearing in ceremony.

“I am delighted, I am honored, I am excited to now lead the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department, a very fine and proud police department. I promise to not let you down, I promise to be the leader that you need and you deserve, and I promise to be the leader and the commissioner the citizens and residents deserve, that they want, that they pay for, and that they expect.” said Harrison on Tuesday.

He continued to say how he thought he would spend his career in New Orleans, but he is excited to get started in Baltimore. Harrison spent nearly 30 years in the New Orleans Police Department, many of which he spent working in internal affairs weeding out bad cops.

“He seems capable and earnest about wanting to get rid of bad actors in the police department. We know that there’s a lot. We need somebody who has some experience with that,“ said Councilman Ryan Dorsey.

Throughout the process, Harrison has been talking about the importance of community policing and officers getting involved with their communities. He also says they need to be hard on crime, but soft on people.

“This police department clearly has deep systemic challenges. We need a leader who can look it in the eye and do the work. He also earned the faith of his officers in New Orleans and that’s what he’s done. Everything I’ve heard from our police in Baltimore about him so far and the humility he’s carried himself with and the way he’s come in has been extremely positive,” said Councilman Zeke Cohen.

Harrison will make $275,000 and plans to stay in the city for a long time and see the department become the gold standard nationwide.

“I know he’s ready to get started. I spoke to him earlier today and he’s like I’m ready to just do the job now. He’s excited to do the job now that we are moving forward," said Councilman Kristerfer Burnett.

As part of the next step in his confirmation process, Harrison will be sworn in by Mayor Catherine Pugh on Tuesday at 9 a.m. as the new BPD Commissioner.

Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement on the approval of Michael Harrison:

I am delighted that our City Council members have come to share my view that Michael Harrison is indeed, the right person, at the right time and in the right place to remake the Baltimore Police Department and restore community trust as our new Police Commissioner. We commit our full support to him as he now officially takes up his responsibility, knowing of his own strong commitment to new levels of accountability and transparency. We have much work yet to accomplish but have in Commissioner Harrison a seasoned partner who regards this work as both an opportunity and a privilege. I ask all of Baltimore to work with us in creating the safer City we desire and deserve.

Harrison will be the fourth Baltimore Police Commissioner in a little over a year.