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Baltimore City Council to vote on whether Worley should be police commissioner

Baltimore City Council to vote on whether Worley should be police commissioner
Baltimore City Council to vote on whether Worley should be police commissioner 02:59

BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore City Council committee gave Richard Worley approval to go in front of the full council and obtain their vote to lead Baltimore's police department.

James Wallace got their approval to go in front of the council to get their blessing to run the fire department, too. 

That means Worley is one step closer to becoming Baltimore's 41st police commissioner. and Wallace is closer to leading the city's firefighters.

They went before the Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee on Thursday to field questions. The room was packed with onlookers. Elected officials and community members showed up to express their support for them or lack of confidence.

Worley has worked for the Baltimore Police Department for 25 years. He is the hand-picked successor of former commissioner Michael Harrison, who announced his resignation in June.

"Let's get them out of the cars and point these kids in the right direction," Doren Davis of West Baltimore said when asked what he wanted to see from Worley. "How many commissioners we had? 8-9? And, everything keep(s) going up."

The city had six police commissioners in a seven-year span when Michael Harrison joined the department in 2019.

Mayor Brandon Scott has said that Worley represents stability for a department heading in a positive direction. The two held a series of in-person and virtual town halls in August across the city to hear from community members.

Some in West Baltimore disagree on whether an internal candidate is the best fit to lead the BPD.

"He the Old Guard. We need fresh people," Davis said. "We need, like, females. We need up-and-coming young men."

Tony, who declined to give his last name, told WJZ he wants officers to walk the beat instead of sitting in their cars.

"Maybe his plan will execute a better plan than someone from out of town," Tony said.

During the committee hearing, Worley was met with some public opposition. On the flip side, he had the support of the former mayor and Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates.

He said he left the hearing determined to change the minds of those who expressed a lack of faith in his abilities to lead the department.

"A lot of the citizens who don't agree, don't know me," he said. "A lot of the officials know me."

Earlier this week, the Board of Estimates delayed a vote on Worley's contract and deferred it to Oct. 4.

Scott said that was to give the Baltimore City Council the opportunity to confirm Worley first.

Following the hearing, Scott issued a statement noting that Worley and Wallace showcased grace, their deep knowledge base, and their leadership skills for committee members. 

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