(UPDATED 5:08 p.m.)—Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld is retiring.
Bealefeld, who was known for calling criminals “knuckleheads” and “morons,” will retire after more than 30 years on the force.
Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, confirmed Bealefeld is stepping down and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office issued a news release announcing his retirement a short time later.
According to the news release, Bealefeld will be stepping down effective Aug. 1 and a nationwide search for his replacement will begin. The news release did not list a reason for Bealefeld’s decisions to retire.
Bealefeld, who started as a cadet with the force in 1981, was chosen to become commissioner in July 2007, according to the news release.
On Saturday Bealefeld participated in the and reiterated the department’s commitment to focus on keeping criminals who use guns—who he often referred to as “bad guys with guns”—off the street.
Bealefeld's decision caught some at City Hall off guard.
Councilman Nick Mosby, who was elected to his first term last year, said he'd recently been to events with Bealefeld and didn't have any indication he was considering retiring.
"I didn't expect it," Mosby said.
Mosby also called the timing of the announcement curious.
"It seems interesting it's right before budget time," Mosby said.
Councilman Robert Curran said that he will miss the way Bealefeld was able to address community groups and reassure constituents.
"He performs his best when he's in front of community groups," Curran said.
He also said he'd seen a letter from the commissioner indicating that he was leaving to spend more time with his family, but didn't have any further insite to the decision.
"His leadership will be missed. I bid him success in retirement," Curran said.
Councilman Bill Henry praised Bealefeld for speaking with great candor and being able to communicate with residents in a way that showed he isn't just another public official saying what he's expected to say.
"He's going to be an incredibly high bar for his successor to match," Henry said.
Henry also said he didn't have any indication that Bealefeld was considering retiring, but said it was good to see him leave on his own terms.
"I don't remember the last police commissioner who served five years. I don't remember the last police commissioner who retired," Henry said.