Baltimore Police Announce Leadership Shakeup

… New deputy commissioner, heads of patrol and detective divisions …

By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

10:08 PM EDT, June 15, 2011

The Baltimore Police Department announced Wednesday an expected shakeup in its top ranks, including a new deputy commissioner and new leadership for the patrol and criminal investigations divisions.

The moves were triggered by the retirement of Deputy Commissioner Deborah A. Owens, who had held that position since Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III took over in 2007.

Col. John Skinner, who has overseen the patrol division, will take Owens’ spot, overseeing issues including finance, recruitment and discipline. During his time directing patrol efforts, the 18-year veteran developed a survey to gauge residents’ satisfaction with the efforts of patrol officers, and he is listed as a part-time faculty member at Towson University.

In a statement, the department said Skinner had been “credited with fostering improved relations between police and the community.”

An official also confirmed that Maj. Terrence McLarney is no longer head of the homicide unit, in which he served for more than 20 years. No other details were available, but a spokesman said a national search will be conducted.

Col. Dean Palmere, a 10th-generation Baltimore police officer and 22-year veteran, will become chief of patrol for the department’s nine districts. Palmere had overseen the department’s Violent Crimes Impact Section, and his job grew in responsibility two years ago when that division was merged with the criminal investigations division, giving him additional oversight of sections such as the homicide and sex offense units.

Taking his spot will be Lt. Col. Jesse Oden, a 32-year veteran who now heads the Warrant Apprehension Task Force. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the warrant task force will be run by a lieutenant and report to Oden.

The moves also include Maj. Ross Buzzuro’s leaving his post as commander of the Northern District. Buzzuro was the longest-serving district commander, overseeing the district since 2007. Buzzuro, a 26-year veteran, will become an area commander overseeing the west side of the city.

Taking Buzzuro’s spot in the Northern District will be the deputy major of the Northwest District, Sabrina Tapp-Harper, a 24-year veteran.

Robert F. Cherry, president of the police union, praised the moves and particularly singled out Buzzuro. “He’s been one of those commanders under the radar, a cop’s cop who’s worked his way up and paid his dues,” Cherry said.

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