Batts Expects Focused, Disciplined Police Force

Anthony Batts was officially announced as the mayor's choice to be Baltimore's next police commissioner.

Anthony Batts, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s nominee to be the next police commissioner, said his focus will be on serving the city’s communities.

"I expect to have a well disciplined, focused police department. A police organization that remembers that we serve our community, and [be] clear that we are here to make their lives better," Batts said. "They’re not the enemy. They’re the people who we serve, and we will get in closer to those communities."

Batts, the former police chief in Long Beach and Oakland, was officially introduced during a news conference on Tuesday at City Hall, but word leaked yesterday that he had been chosen. Batts resigned his job in Oakland in October 2011 after Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was elected.

"The mayor that brought me there stepped out of office...the mayor who took over, she didn't get a chance to interview me and say 'are we doing the same things?' like Mayor [Rawlings-]Blake has. I didn't get a chance to interview her and ask what she wanted out of me," Batts said.       

He also had stern words for what he said is the 10 percent of the city’s population committing crimes.

"To those that would hurt, who would beat, who would rob and cause pain to the weak. We are coming," Batts said. 

Batts also told members of the news media that he doesn’t have any immediate plans to make changes in the way the department operates.

"I think the mistake is coming in and making changes without any purpose. You don’t make changes just for changes. What I’m going to be doing my first 90 days is listening and learning," Batts said.

Batts is set to replace former Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III, who in May.

He said that he feels the department has been doing well, but that he will be making the command staff submit their resumes to him because he wants them to feel like they’re competing for their jobs.

Rawlings-Blake said she felt comfortable hiring a commissioner not from the city because her mandate was to find the best police commissioner possible, not the best police commissioner from Baltimore.

"I’ve heard the criticism that [picking someone from outside the department] would impact morale… but I think that it’s important to remember what we’ve been able to do here in Baltimore over the last few years in tough times," Rawlings-Blake said.

Councilman Brandon Scott, who did not attend the news conference, said afterward outside of City Hall that he supported giving acting Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale an opportunity to lead the department.

"I would’ve loved to see him get the chance to run the department," Scott said.

But he said the mayor made the decision that she thought was best for the residents of Baltimore.

"You move forward. You don’t cry over spilt milk in this business," Scott said.

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Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Is Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake aware Tony Batts considers himself above the law and covered up his history of domestic violence while Long Beach police chief. http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=1563 http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=2368 Batts announced his Oakland resignation amid warnings the federal courts could take over the Police Department for Batts failing to comply with a court ordered consent decree. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-chief-resigns-as-police-takeover-2327534.php http://informant.kalwnews.org/2011/10/oakland-police-chief-anthony-batts-resigns/#more-10857 People forget Batts secretly applied (and was turned down) for the San Jose police chief job after only one year on the job as the Oakland police chief. Furthermore, Batts mislead the police union and publicly lied to the newly elected Oakland mayor and City Council when he said he had no plans to leave the Oakland Police Department. Yet, it was later shown Batts had already secretly applied for the San Jose job when saying he had no plans to leave. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Jose-doesn-t-hire-Oakland-Chief-Anthony-Batts-2477577.php Also, Batts undermined his Oakland "bosses by announcing publicly that OPD would no longer respond to some types of service even though past chiefs with fewer resources were able to do so." http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/will-jean-quan-fire-anthony-batts/Content?oid=2414206
Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 07:59 PM
If you don't believe the above article about Long Beach Police Chief's cover-up of his history if domestic violence, maybe you will believe the linked letter from retired Long Beach Police Lieutenant Joe Rabe confirming the cover-up (among other things) . If you don't believe him, try talking to some of the police officers forced by Batts to resign because they chose to not support Batt's multiple cover-ups, another one being Lobstergate. http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=2393&arc=1
Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 07:59 PM
http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=2393&arc=1 “We all knew of his domestic violence issues, but Tony was Teflon coated; the rules didn’t apply to him, both in his mind and unfortunately in the minds of his superiors.” Joe Rabe Lieutenant, LBPD (ret)
Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 08:05 PM
According to Batts, "The mayor that brought me there stepped out of office...the mayor who took over, she didn't get a chance to interview me and say 'are we doing the same things?' like Mayor [Rawlings-]Blake has. I didn't get a chance to interview her and ask what she wanted out of me," Batts said." What Batts didn't mention was that he sought employment as the San Jose Police Chief BEFORE Oakland Mayor Quan was even elected. Same thing happened in Long Beach when new Mayor Foster was elected. Batts resigned his position as chief of Long Beach police to become the 14 month chief of Oakland police.
Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Last but not least, Batts approved harassment and discrimination of certain Long Beach police officers for disclosing and testifying truthfully about the illegal conduct of other Long Beach police officers involved in Lobstergate. http://diver.net/bbs/posts002/67696.shtml http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=2393&arc=1 A jury awared $4.1 million to the officers retaliated against by Long Beach Police Chief Batts and his subbordinates. http://www.topix.com/forum/city/long-beach-ca/T1T2UFUQQBKVBP5MP http://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/nonsense-anything-boards/94918-lobstergate-tax-work.html
R. J. Steelworth August 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Mike Ruehle is a local Long Beach gadfly. Is Batts perfect? No. Baltimore needs to trust Batts and follow his leadership. He knows how to run a police department and a tight ship.
Mike Ruehle August 28, 2012 at 09:29 PM
My comments are based on my personal experience with Batts during my two years as president of the Belmont Shore Residents Association questioning crime enforcement in my Belmont Shore community. Batts and his deputy chief lied to my face in the City Manager's office about Belmont Shore police staffing. Based upon what OTHER police officers were telling me, I later did a Public Records Act request of the data and found out Batts had lied to me. That's just one of several such lies. Another time when I spoke before City Council about retaliation against me personally by Development Service personnel, ACTING City Manager Anthony Batts told Mayor Foster that he had investigated my complaint and there was no merit. However, Batts had no answer when I asked how he could have investigated my complaint since nobody had ever called me to hear what my complaint was. Mayor Foster told Batts he wanted to have a copy of the investigation on his desk in the morning. It turned out there had been no investigation and that Batts had lied. Following the REAL investigation, Assistant City Manager Frick told me in front of witnesses there was fault on the part of the city. Shortly afterwards, the Development Services Manager resigned. Yet, Batts did his best to cover up for the city's illegal activity. Just the kind of tight ship everyone wants.
John B. Greet August 30, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Mr. Ruehle has a long and troubled history of contentious difficulty in and with the City of Long Beach, and particularly the police department. Ruehle served for a time as the volunteer president of a residents' association, representing, at its membership peak during his tenure, some 800 people in a neighborhood of Long Beach that, in 2000, had some 30,000 residents. Ruehle's style in dealing with elected and highly-appointed members of City government was, to put it kindly, very contentious and accusatory. So much so that he eventually could not get much in the way of cooperation from people like Chief Batts and many others. Fortunately, Ruehle no longer represents that organization, nor even lives in that neighborhood, and by all reports cooperation between that organization and City Government is now much improved. Yet Ruehle will still take his rhetorical pot-shots at Dr. Batts every single chance he gets. Even, as now, when Dr. Batts no long even works in our city, let alone our State, and is now selected to serve the good people of Baltimore. None of the allegations Ruehle has listed has ever been proven, not even by investigators operating entirely independently of the police department and the City. That's a fact Ruehle always conveniently manages to omit in his habitual Batts-bashing. As for me, I say good luck and best wishes, Dr. Batts! I think Baltimore is fortunate to have you. John B. Greet Long Beach PD, retired
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