A former police chief from Oakland and Long Beach has been tapped to head the Baltimore Police Department.
Anthony W. Batts, who holds a doctorate in public administration, was selected from a field of more than 100 applicants from within the city and around the country, officials said.
“Anthony Batts has what it takes to lead the Baltimore Police Department forward and to continue building on the progress the men and women of the BPD have made reducing crime and violence,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “Making Baltimore a safer city will continue to be a major focus of this administration as we work to reach our goal of growing Baltimore by 10,000 families over the next decade…I will not be satisfied until Baltimore becomes the safest big city in America.”
Batts spent the evening of Aug. 28 walking the streets of his new city, visiting the West Baltimore neighborhoods of Bridgeview and Greater Mondawmin. He arrived in Baltimore the day before, the same day Rawlings-Blake’s choice for chief was announced.
Batts, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, served as police chief in Oakland from October 2009 until November 2011. He resigned after complaining that understaffing in the department rendered it difficult to control crime in the city of 390,000. He was credited with improving relations between the Oakland police and the community. He started his career in law enforcement in 1982 as a police officer working street patrol and narcotics cases for the Long Beach Police Department and later rose to the rank of chief.
After leaving the Oakland Police Department, he worked as the CEO of the A. William White Group, a police consulting firm. He has also been a lecturer and researcher for the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s criminal justice program.
“It is a great and humbling honor to be named commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department,” Batts said in a statement. “Baltimore is a city that is easy to fall in love with and call home. Under the mayor’s leadership and with her ongoing investment in smart crime fighting strategies, Baltimore is becoming a safer city and its best days are ahead.”
Batts’ will be submitted to the city council for confirmation. Acting Commissioner Anthony Barksdale, who was named a month ago in the wake of the retirement of Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, will continue to lead the department until Batts officially assumes command. His first day is expected to be Sept. 27.
Batts, who is not married, has not announced when he will relocate to the city.