Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld announced his resignation, ending a 31-year career on the force that included overseeing a steep decline in the murder rate — but left him exhausted by the pressures of the job, the Baltimore Sun reports. His departure — scheduled for Aug. 1 — stunned some city officials and triggered a nationwide search for a new leader to run the nation’s eighth-largest police department.
Several top city police officials could be in the running for the job, which promises to be one of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s most important and toughest Cabinet-level picks. Bealefeld won over residents with his folksy style and his homespun colloquialisms, targeting “bad guys with guns” and calling criminals “morons” and “knuckleheads.” He fought to transform the 3,100-member force into a more professional crime-fighting organization, instituting an intensive training program despite gripes from rank-and-file officers. Departmental scandals dominated headlines and overshadowed his efforts. Sixteen officers were convicted in a kickback scheme involving a towing company, an off-duty officer killed an unarmed Marine in a bar fight, and an officer was convicted of dealing drugs from a police station parking lot.