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Commissioner shakes up BPD command staff, brings in former staffers from New Orleans

Baltimore Police Department
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison

In addition to assessing crime in the city, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has been combing over the command structure with the department, and with the moves announced Monday, he apparently didn't like what he was seeing.

Detective Jeremy Silbert said in a statement,  said In an effort to streamline the chain of command, improve the lines of communication and create an appropriate span of control, the Department will reduce its total number of Colonels to two and Lt. Colonels to four.  "Over the past two years, more than a dozen new police command positions were created, including an increase in the number of Colonels to six and Lt. Colonels to seven," said Silbert.  

"The Department will also now be divided into four bureaus: Administration; Operations; and the two newly-formed bureaus of Compliance and Public Integrity.  Each of the bureaus will be led by a Deputy Commissioner.  Additionally, Commissioner Harrison is moving the Community Collaboration Division to the Chief of Patrol’s office, where it will be led by Lt. Colonel Sheree Briscoe."

The new organizational structure will go into effect on April 24.

“These moves are an important first step towards making the Baltimore Police Department a more efficient, effective and responsive organization.  We simply had too many people in high-ranking positions without an appropriate span of control to justify their rank,” said Commissioner Harrison.  “Moving forward, I will continue to evaluate BPD’s structure and capacity.  More changes will be necessary, but we have begun building an effective structure for the Department and putting the right people in the right places. 

Commissioner Harrison also announced that he has promoted Jim Gillis to Deputy Commissioner of Administration.  Previously, Gillis served as BPD’s Chief of Staff and, before that, as Director of Government Affairs. 

“Jim’s wide range of skills and experiences, his deep knowledge of the Baltimore Police Department, and his passion for making Baltimore a better and safer city lend themselves perfectly to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Administration,” said Commissioner Harrison. 

Additionally, Eric Melancon, who was named BPD’s Chief of Staff, begins work today, and Deputy Commissioner Danny Murphy, who will lead the newly-created Compliance Bureau, began work last week.  Both previously worked for the New Orleans Police Department. 

“Eric and Danny were key members of my team that helped transform the New Orleans Police Department into a better run and nationally recognized organization have been successful in significantly reducing crime and improving NOPD’s relationship with residents.  I have every expectation that they will help produce the same results here in Baltimore,” said Commissioner Harrison.

Michael Harrison was sworn in as the Baltimore Police Department’s 41st Commissioner on March 12, 2019.  Before coming to Baltimore, Commissioner Harrison served the New Orleans Police Department for nearly 28 years. In 2014, he was appointed Superintendent and served in that role for four years. Harrison retired from that position shortly before making the move to Baltimore.