(BALTIMORE) Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that she has replaced Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.
“We cannot grow Baltimore without making our city a safer place to live,” Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference at City Hall. “We need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better.”
Rawlings-Blake named Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis interim commissioner, effective immediately.
Rawlings-Blake’s decision came hours after she lashed out at the city’s police union for for its highly critical report of the Police Department leadership during last month’s rioting. She did not respond to a call for Batts’ resignation from faith coalition Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.
Batts was hired to lead the city’s police force since October 2012. Batts had last served as police chief in Long Beach, Calif., and Oakland, Calif. He earned more than $200,000 a year.
Del. Curt Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat and co-chair of the state’s new working group on public safety, said the move was inevitable.
“I know there was a lot of frustration over what was going on in Baltimore,” Anderson said. “Clearly when the discussion about the police commissioner becomes more important than actual problem, the mayor has to remove that obstacle.”
Davis, who has most recently served as deputy commissioner, has a long history in law enforcement.
He previously served as police chief in Anne Arundel County and assistant police chief in Prince George’s County.