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A huge job vacancy remains unfilled at the Baltimore Police Department—as the city’s crime problem appears to be spiraling out of control. Baltimore has been searching for several months for the right person to take on the challenge of leading the police force.

SEE ALSO: ‘Escalating Violence’ Prompts Maryland School District To Suspend Trips To Baltimore

Mayor Catherine Pugh blamed Baltimore’s recent surge of violence on drug wars and a police shortage Wednesday at her weekly news conference, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Baltimore’s homicide rate is at a record level—higher than Chicago’s and Detroit’s. The city recorded 342 homicides in 2017. At the same time, the police force is struggling to fix serious problems stemming from its long history of corruption and systemic racial bias against Black residents, detailed in a scathing 2016 Justice Department report.

“You’ve heard about the war on drugs. There is a drug war. People are protecting their territories with guns,” Pugh said, explaining what was behind the 11 shootings on Tuesday that resulted in three deaths.

During the press conference, the mayor didn’t offer a clue about her timeline for appointing a permanent police commissioner.

The police commissioner’s office has been a revolving door all year. In January, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was fired and replaced by Darryl De Sousa. However, De Sousa stepped down in May after being charged with a federal tax offense. Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle, who served as one of De Sousa’s top deputies, withdrew his application on Oct. 9 to become the permanent commissioner.

Baltimore has had 10 police commissioners since 1989. There are now reportedly more than 50 applicants for the post. No doubt, city officials and residents are hoping for stability with the next pick for commissioner.

“I don’t think there is a more challenging police chief job in the country right now. It’s facing a number of challenges: A consent decree, significant crime and issues rebuilding trust,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told the newspaper.


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Baltimore Can’t Find A Police Chief As Crime Spirals Out Of Control  was originally published on