The Baltimore City Council voted overwhelmingly Monday night to confirm Kevin Davis as the city’s new police chief.
Davis, a former deputy to Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, was endorsed by a 12-2 vote of council members, several of whom said they polled community association presidents in their neighborhoods before deciding to support Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s choice.
“We need stability in the police department,” said City Councilman Brandon Scott, vice chairman of the public safety committee. “We cannot have a temporary captain of the ship with all the violence in the city and the trials (in the Freddie Gray case) coming up. … I have confidence that the commissioner will do a better job of working with everyone to get the crime rate down.”
City Councilman Eric T. Costello said he backs Davis “100 percent.”
“He’s the right guy for the job,” Costello said. “He has humility. He knows how to listen. And he actually follows through after he listens.”
City Councilman Carl Stokes, who is running for mayor, and Councilman Nick J. Mosby, who is considering a run, voted no. They have objected to a $150,000 severance package the mayor plans to include in Davis’ contract.
“The taxpayers want more accountability for these long-term contracts with big payouts if the person hired does not work out,” Stoke said. “Many have told me that they supported the commissioner, but not a guaranteed payout. I believe the commissioner to be professionally experienced enough to do a very good job, but we needed a few more months to observe that to be so.”
About an hour after the vote, Rawlings-Blake swore Davis in at a community meeting in Northwest Baltimore.
“We have to fight violent crime in a new and different way,” Davis said. “It’s going to take our best efforts and building relationships with the community.”
Rawlings-Blake named Davis interim commissioner after she fired Batts in July during a surge of violence in the city, which recorded 45 homicides in July. Killings have dropped slightly since then, but the city remains on a pace to reach 300 homicides for the first time since 1999.
Davis’ five-year, $200,000 annual contract now goes before the Board of Estimates for approval Wednesday. That board panel is controlled by the mayor.
Source: Baltimore Sun | Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector