By John Fritze
Baltimore Sun reporter
BALTIMORE, Md. — Frederick H. Bealefeld III, acting commissioner and a 26-year veteran of Baltimore's police department, was named city's police commissioner this morning by Mayor Sheila Dixon.
Dixon made the announcement at a 10 a.m. news conference at City Hall. The City Council must approve Dixon's pick, but a majority of council members were at her side this morning.
"I have no higher duty than to protect residents from harm," Dixon said. " ... We're making strides and [having] an impact."
Bealefeld took over the department in mid-July, after Dixon asked Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm to resign amid a spike in killings that put the city on track for 300 homicides for the first time since 1999. There have been 231 homicides in Baltimore so far this year.
His chief competitor for the job had been Charles H. Ramsey, who stepped down in December as Washington's police chief.
Bealefeld has steadily climbed the department's ranks and is seen as a hands-on, street-savvy veteran. He typically spends several hours a day driving on city streets, talking to officers on their beats and visiting crime scenes involving shooting and homicide investigations.
Bealefeld began as a patrol officer and advanced to lead the Southern District and then to a top-ranking command position overseeing patrol deployment for half of the city. Over the past two years, he has served as chief of detectives and, under Hamm this year, as deputy commissioner of operations.
Paul M. Blair Jr., president of the city police union, said in late August that he believed his members would support Bealefeld "110 percent" over Ramsey.
Copyright 2007 The Baltimore Sun
Acting Balt. commissioner named police chief