Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on Tuesday named New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison as her latest pick to lead the city’s beleaguered Police Department, saying his experience in reducing violence and introducing federally mandated policing reforms in The Big Easy would help him tackle similar challenges in the Maryland city.
Pugh said Harrison has “achieved clear, compelling and consistent results” in reducing violence while deploying “proactive and effective policing strategies that reflect 21st century, constitutional policing,” and would bring the “insight and sensitivity needed to reestablish essential trust and confidence of citizens in their police officers.”
Harrison, 49, told the Baltimore Sun he was humbled by the mayor’s trust in him. He also stressed the need for strong leadership throughout the department, not just at the top, in order to change its culture and reduce crime.
Harrison has informed New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell of his retirement from the New Orleans force, where he has spent all of his policing career, and will start as acting commissioner in Baltimore in a couple of weeks, according to Pugh’s office.