What people are saying about Bealefeld

May 04, 2012|By Peter Hermann

By now, you  know that Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III announced his resignation, effective Aug. 1, on Thursday. Read the full story here, along with a video clip and a photo gallery of the chief through the years.

Here's what some in the community are saying about the commissioner:

“Commissioner Bealefeld has been a great public servant for the people of Baltimore throughout his entire career in the Baltimore Police Department and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “While I am saddened to announce his retirement, I respect his decision to retire after decades of service to spend more time with his family. I know he loves the job and was proud to serve with honesty and integrity for these many years.”

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he was “flabbergasted” to learn of Bealefeld’s retirement.

"I’m just shocked that he’s leaving,” Young said in an interview.  ”I talked to him about it a month ago and he said he wasn’t going anywhere. And then today the mayor calls and says he’s going to retire.”

Young said he developed a deep respect with Bealefeld after having gotten off to a rocky start with him.  In 2007, Bealefeld had ordered Young, then an East Baltimore councilman, to escorted out of a Comstat meeting after he questioned the validity of police statistics.

“I think he has done a good job leading the police department.  Murders were down. Overall crime was down,” said Young.  “I was impressed with his interactions with communities. I went on some of those community-led cop walks.  He was very down to earth.”

Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein said Bealefeld will go down as “one of the best police commissioners” the city has ever had.

“He’s been a tremendous public servant and he is a person who really lived and breathed Baltimore, and he gave it his all. He worked that job 24/7, and he was fully committed to trying to make Baltimore a safer place,” Bernstein said.

“I think through sheer dint of will and effort, he greatly improved the effectiveness of the Baltimore Police Department, and I think that the statistics bear that out in terms of the drop in crime, and I think he deserves a large amount of the credit for that,” Bernstein continued. “I think that the citizens of Baltimore owe him a great debt of gratitude and respect.”

Bealefeld famously butted heads with Bernstein’s predecessor, Patricia Jessamy, which added to tension between city police and prosecutors, the commissioner said in a December interview. Jessamy could not be reached for comment Thursday.

When Bernstein ran for office in 2010, Bealefeld endorsed him, and once he took over as state’s attorney last year, they made a point of presenting a united front to the public, trying to avoid airing their issues in the media.

“On a personal level, and please, this is not an indictment on his predecessor, my personal communication ability with him on critical issues is much easier and much more open, mostly because  he doesn’t feel like I’m blaming him, and I don’t feel like he’s blaming me,” Bealefeld said in the earlier interview. “I can tell you that there have been a number of issues, a number of serious issues that would have in the past led to stories in your newspaper, but that you guys have not heard a single word about, because we have done what the public expects of us, and tried to work out the solution instead of embarrassing each other.”

Earlier this year, Bernstein and Bealefeld launched a community prosecution model that put prosecutors in charge of specific geographic zones and connected them to police working there in the hopes that the two agencies would become more closely aligned and better serve various regions.

“I think ultimately what will be [Bealefeld’s] legacy, is that he helped get that started, and we’ll just move on from there,” Bernstein said.

“What we both say is, at the end of the day, what matters is the relationships between my deputies, my assistant state’s attorneys and the majors and deputy majors and the command staff and the officers, because that’s really where the rubber hits the road. I mean, he and I can talk the talk, but unless the troops, so to speak, on both sides of the street are working together, the things that we talk about are not going to be effective, and they’re simply not going to happy. On that score, we’re seeing tremendous progress, and I think that the level of cooperation that now exists between the state’s attorney’s office and the Baltimore Police Department is really palatable and you see it.”

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