More than 300 people were killed each year in the 1990s in Baltimore. That number has dropped to 238, a figure that police commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III wants to keep low. He is being kept on by new Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Nearly two years of Bealefeld have basically brought Baltimore back, with improvements, to where things stood when Edward Norris left in as commissioner 2002, says the Baltimore Sun.
Bealefeld says he wants fewer but smarter arrests, with his officers concentrating on guns. Budget cuts have forced the police department to cut civilian and contractual positions, travel, recruitment and holiday pay, and to delay the next academy class. While Bealefeld would never openly call some of his predecessors failures, he made an impassioned plea about fighting crime while taking a swipe at past police leaders who were imported from elsewhere. Bealefeld said he had more to do: “We’ve just started. We really are at the tip of the iceberg at getting the full buy-in from the patrol forces. But if this city stays committed to this strategy over the long haul, you’re going to see incredible results.”