07/19/2007

Baltimore mayor launches search for new police commissioner

Canned Hamm:

BALTIMORE, Md. — Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced this morning that she would launch a nationwide search for a new police commissioner and vowed to "figure out what it is going to take to reduce crime" in the city.

Speaking at a news conference, Dixon introduced her new interim commissioner, Frederick H. Bealefeld III, the deputy commissioner of operations and a 26-year veteran of the department.

Dixon and Bealefeld gave brief remarks but did not take questions from reporters. Leonard D. Hamm, who resigned at her request, did not appear. It was the first public remarks by the mayor since she asked for Hamm's resignation Tuesday night.

The mayor thanked Hamm for his service but said, "I believe it is time for new leadership in the Police Department, and now is the time to make that change. I do things for the love of the people of this great city."

Bealefeld said he supports Dixon's crime plan targeting violent crime combined with outreach to the community. "It is a tough task that we have, but we are up to it," he said. "We will make this city safe.

"The people of this city have high expectations of their leaders in the police department, and they should," Bealefeld said. "I don't take it lightly. The citizens demand action, and the mayor expects results."

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