Intent on rebuilding confidence and instilling new faith in the Baltimore City Police Department, Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III officially announced changes within the ranks of the department last week.
Introducing Grayling Williams as chief of the Internal Investigation Division, Police Commissioner Bealefeld said the new civilian commander will bring fresh eyes to a department that has fought to maintain its credibility in the community.
“Baltimore is a big-city department with big-city issues, but they’re not insurmountable,” Williams said with his positive outlook on handling corruption and crime.
Williams, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent for 22 years, is a native of New York City, where he grew up on the streets of Harlem. Hand-picked by President Obama in 2009 to serve as director of the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Grayling has extensive experience handling crime on national and local levels.
“I want the communities to see Chief Williams as an icon of integrity,” said Commissioner Bealefeld of the veteran law enforcement agent.
As chief of the Internal Affairs Department, Williams will be in charge of handling all allegations and investigations dealing with police misconduct.
Signaling a change in the way the BCPD will operate from here on, Commissioner Bealefeld said the department will continue the same work and community engagement that led to a drop in arrests, from 100,000 to just 42,000 last year. “We do need to be better. It can’t just be catch phrases- it’s got to be real hard work.”
Also new to the department, John King was announced as the director of training for the BCPD in Friday’s roundtable discussion. Heading the Diamond Standard Program, which has been completely overhauling the way officers are trained since its implementation in 2008, King has his mind set on stepping up the four week program. “As an outsider looking at it, we want to emphasize not just a standalone cultural awareness or community policing class, but integrate four tenets in every class we teach; integrity , leadership, community policing and cultural awareness,” said King.
“We know we have in some area, in some communities, and with some officers, an estranged, broken relationship,” said Commissioner Bealefeld, who is looking to the two new hires to create significant change within the department, as well as in Baltimore City as a whole.
Formerly serving as a police chief in Gaithersburg, MD, and as assistant chief of the Montgomery County Police Department, where he dedicated more than 25 years, King is also a civilian, furthering hammering home Commissioner Bealfeld’s commitment to ending in-house corruption and misconduct.
A tumultuous year for the BCPD, 2011 saw the shooting death of an officer by friendly fire, and a towing scandal that cost 17 police officers their jobs and federal charges for the kick-back ring that operated for months, giving $300 for every car routed to Majestic Towing.