In First Baltimore Appearance, Batts Cites Drug Trade, His Local Roots


Baltimore’s next police commissioner believes the drug trade is at the core of crime problems from car break-ins to gang killings. And it’s an issue that Anthony Batts says he’s seen up close, says the Baltimore Sun. “I have relatives who have had addiction problems, and they didn’t solve those problems until they got into treatment,” he said, referring to family in the Baltimore area. “Trying to stem those issues will stem some of the property crime issues and some of the violence. I think it’s all connected.”

The former Long Beach and Oakland, Cal. police chief, who was introduced yesterday by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, told reporters that he will be a detail-oriented leader who wants to visit every corner in the city and “take responsibility for every life.” Perhaps trying to quell concerns about being an outsider, Batts, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit with a Baltimore Police lapel pin, noted that he was born in Washington, D.C., and that “99 percent” of his family lives in the area. “To me, this is coming back home,” he said. Batts was selected from a small group of finalists, including Acting Commissioner Anthony Barksdale, a 19-year veteran of the agency who was being pushed by several members of the City Council. Rawlings-Blake said Batts brings a “fresh set of eyes” and described him as a “major force for good, for reform, and for results.”

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