Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who has led the department for the last four years, announced he will step down on Thursday.

“I have been truly blessed to serve the city of Baltimore and receive the support and confidence of the men and women of this department, our elected leaders and the great people of Baltimore,” Harrison said.

Mayor Brandon Scott announced he would nominate Rich Worley as interim BPD commissioner and intends put his name forward as a full-time replacement. Worley is currently the deputy commissioner for operations.

Prior to Harrison’s arrival, the city saw four commissioners in less than four years.

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Here’s a timeline of key events during Harrison’s tenure:

Jan. 8, 2019: Then-mayor Catherine Pugh announced Harrison as her pick for commissioner. Harrison had previously served as the police superintendent in New Orleans, and Pugh pointed to his experience leading the department through reforms under a federal consent decree and his experience working to stem crime as reasons for the pick.

In New Orleans, Harrison worked undercover to investigate corruption within the department and felt he could bring those skills to Baltimore in order to ensure “fair, thorough and just investigations” of misconduct allegations. Baltimore was also dealing with corruption issues, and a federal consent decree was entered into after a U.S. Justice Department investigation found a pattern of unconstitutional policing within the BPD. The DOJ was invited to investigate the department following the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody and the citywide unrest that followed.

Harrison was not Pugh’s first choice. The announcement came after former Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald withdrew from consideration.

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March 12, 2019: Harrison is formally sworn in by Pugh as police commissioner, after the City Council approved his appointment unanimously. Harrison pledged to help Pugh reform the police department, among other things.

May 2, 2019: Mayor Pugh resigns amid a scandal over her “Healthy Holly” children’s books. Acting Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young becomes the city’s permanent mayor.

June 20, 2019: Harrison promised to limit overtime hours for officers, after police Sgt. Ethan Newberg — who was one of the biggest beneficiaries of overtime pay — was arrested in May of 2019 and charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office. Newberg pleaded guilty this year to misconduct in office and faces up to three years in prison. Overtime costs — which police union leaders said were due to staffing shortages — had reached nearly $50 million, a Sun article reported at the time.

June 24, 2019: Under a new “place-based policing strategy,” BPD directs officers to swarm 120 “micro-zones” throughout the city that saw high rates of violence from 2014 up until that point.

Aug. 8, 2019: Harrison named FBI agent Brian Nadeau as deputy commissioner of the Public Integrity Bureau. Nadeau was formerly the head of the FBI’s public corruption unit.

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Oct. 23, 2019: Harrison announced an independent investigation into the Gun Trace Task Force, a plainclothes unit in the police department that was found to have engaged in widespread corruption and misconduct, including reselling stolen drugs and falsifying evidence. “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it,” Harrison said at the time. “We must, and we will, learn everything we can about the terrible chapter in BPD’s history and to ensure that it never happens again.”

Nov. 6. 2019: Harrison closed an investigation into the death of Det. Sean Suiter, who was found fatally shot in 2017 — a day before he was scheduled to testify in a case involving the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. Harrison said that a Maryland State Police investigation confirmed Suiter had committed suicide, but the detective’s family maintained he was murdered, and condemned the investigation.

Dec 20, 2019: Harrison says he supports a program to fly surveillance planes over Baltimore, reversing his previous position that the technology had not been proven to work, and announcing that a trial run would begin in May of 2022.

The move came after the city paused a pilot program conducted years earlier that had been kept secret from the public. It was revealed by Bloomberg reporting in 2016. Persistent Surveillance Systems flew a small Cessna airplane equipped with high-resolution cameras over the city for hours at a time.

Dec. 31, 2019: Baltimore ended the year with 348 homicides, the highest number of killings since 1993, when the city’s population was much larger.

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April 1, 2020: Baltimore’s Board of Estimates approves a six-month-long trial run for three surveillance planes to begin flying over the city, amid opposition by civil liberties groups. The planes were funded by Texas philanthropists.

April 27, 2020: A federal court ruling permitted the city to move forward with the introduction of the controversial “spy plane” initiative.

Harrison was optimistic about its potential. In a statement, he said, he “very seriously” took the utilization of every tool available to address the unacceptable levels of violence in communities in Baltimore, according to a Baltimore magazine article.

May 29, 2020: Harrison calls George Floyd’s death “deeply horrific and heartbreaking,” after a video showed Floyd saying “I can’t breathe,” while pinned down by his neck by a Minneapolis police officer. “This does not represent the calling of our officers to serve and protect with dignity and respect,” Harrison added.

Dec. 24, 2020: BPD launches a program Harrison brought to the department from New Orleans called “Ethical Policing is Courageous,” or EPIC. The program trains officers to intervene to prevent misconduct before it happens, according to the department.

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Dec. 31, 2020: Police reported 335 killings in 2020.

Jan. 27, 2021: Harrison condensed the geographical “micro-zones” and redirected patrols throughout the city.

This shift in strategy decreased the number of zones from 131 to 81, with city officials saying the remaining zones still represented about the same proportions of crime — 30% of homicides and 45% of shootings in Baltimore City, according to a press release.

Feb. 3, 2021: The city’s Board of Estimates votes to terminate a pilot program for three surveillance planes to fly above Baltimore, months after its last flight was grounded on Oct. 31. An attorney representing BPD said city officials were working to delete over 80% of the data the planes collected.

March 3, 2021: Harrison and city officials implement a new program to study the flow of guns coming into the city. Through a partnership with the mayor’s office and Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group that advocates for gun control, the Gun Trafficking Intelligence Platform is launched. The program tracked the movements of guns involved in crimes by aggregating information from public databases.

July 7, 2021: Despite the efforts, Harrison said he saw a rise in “ghost guns” during a news conference. By this time, Harrison said about 140 guns had been recovered, which was more than the year prior. Of the 2,543 weapons seized in 2020, 82% originated from outside Baltimore and 63% were from outside the state.

July 8, 2021: A report conducted by the Baltimore’s Office of the Inspector General found that officers had collected double pay by using both paid time off and overtime. The report noted that the agency went over its budget by more than $12 million for both the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

Harrison said that the Public Integrity Bureau would conduct an investigation into potential policy violations by officers that were mentioned in the report, adding that, “the creation of new overtime policies for the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has been a major culture shift for the agency where there have historically been little to no accountability for the stewardship of taxpayer dollar,” according to a statement.

April 8, 2021: The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill transferring the Baltimore Police Department back to city control. The department had been under state control dating back to the Civil War-era.

A question on the transfer was put on the ballot in the 2022 general election.

June 24, 2021: The 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules against the city in a lawsuit filed on behalf of civil liberties groups against a pilot program allowing surveillance planes to fly over Baltimore. Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote that, “Allowing the police to wield this power unchecked is anathema to the values enshrined in our Fourth Amendment.” Then-City Solicitor Jim Shea says there are no plans to reinstate the program.

Dec. 16, 2021: Officer Keona Holley was placed on life support after being shot in the head while sitting in her patrol car in Curtis Bay. She died Dec. 24.

Dec. 31, 2021: Police reported 335 killings in 2021, making it the city’s seventh consecutive year with more than 300 homicides.

January 2022: The Police Department begins a pilot program of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy in the city’s Western District. The approach melds traditional policing with alternative anti-gun violence approaches, such as offering services to people identified as being the most “at risk” to be victims or perpetrators of gun violence.

Jan. 11, 2022: Thousands of BPD officers, public officials and residents gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center to celebrate the life of former Officer Keona Holley.

During the ceremony, she was described as a compassionate and dedicated officer. Harrison said Holley was one who “ran toward danger, rather than away from it,” adding that she joined in spite of obstacles she encountered to stop her from joining the force at age 37.

Jan. 13, 2022: A report on the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force is released following a two-year investigation by Michael R. Bromwich, a former federal prosecutor.

“Our investigation demonstrated that the corruption within the GTTF began long before the officers joined forces on that squad, and was by no means limited to that squad,” Bromwich wrote, later adding the department’s internal disciplinary mechanisms “were inadequate to the task of disciplining them appropriately and terminating them when the facts justified it.”

Harrison called the report is an “unflinching look at BPD’s own historical shortcomings,” but said “it is necessary for the information to be brought to light, so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Feb. 16, 2022: As part of a federal lawsuit settlement, BPD will delete all of the data collected by three surveillance planes that flew over the city for six months, except data being used in ongoing criminal investigations.

April 14, 2022: Faced with staffing shortages, Harrison and Mayor Brandon Scott announce the department will hire civilian investigators to examine cold cases, low-level crimes and internal affairs cases, and perform background checks. The initiative would allow more sworn officers to return to patrol.

“Well, I think it helps us with two things. It helps us with speed, it helps us with frequency,” Harrison said. “We can get to cases faster and we can take on more cases at the same time by adding this capacity.”

May 18, 2022: Harrison and Mayor Scott announced a new initiative called SMART policing, which would mean some types of non-emergency 911 calls would not be dispatched to police, but be addressed by social workers or others, among other changes. The goal was to make the department more efficient and allow officers more time to focus on high-level crimes.

Aug. 18, 2022: At a quarterly review of the city’s implementation of the federal consent decree, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar said the Police Department had made progress “particularly in the last three years,” and praised Harrison’s leadership. He urged city leaders to “stay the course,” but said there would still be a long battle ahead to win back public trust. At the review, officials also acknowledged that insufficient staffing at the department was becoming an obstacle in their ability to successfully implement the decree.

Dec. 6, 2022: The department announced it would expand the Group Violence Reduction Strategy, first in the Southwest District, then the Central District, and eventually, citywide, following a 33% reduction in homicides and nonfatal shootings last year in the Western District, where the department originally piloted the program in January of 2022. A Banner analysis found no evidence that crime has been displaced outside of the district, as some have suggested.

Dec. 31, 2022: There were 329 killings, according to police. In 2022, Baltimore’s murder rate, which takes into account population, was the highest in the city’s history.

April 11, 2023: In its latest Crime Reduction and Departmental Transformation Plan, the BPD outlines some reductions in crime since the start of Harrison’s tenure.

Since 2018, there’s been a 16% reduction in violent crime, 26% reduction in property crime, according to report, and a 24% reduction in shootings from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023, and a 21% reduction in homicides from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023.

“Over the past four years, the Baltimore Police Department has achieved significant progress and demonstrated great resilience in the midst of considerable challenges,” Harrison wrote in the report’s introduction letter. “We have come a long way in four years, as BPD has truly become the greatest comeback story in America.”

May 2, 2023: As rumblings of Harrison’s exit begin to swirl, new BPD plainclothes units are being called into question as more of the same under the District Action Team name following the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, which broke in 2017. The group of specialized units within the Baltimore Police Department currently has 75 members in total, according to a Baltimore magazine article.

June 6, 2023: City Councilman Eric Costello pressed Harrison at an evening police budget hearing on whether he intended to serve out the rest of his contract. Harrison said he serves “at the pleasure of the mayor” and couldn’t answer the question because “I have to know where the mayor stands on that answer before I can actually answer the question.” After Costello repeated his question, Harrison said he had “said no to many opportunities that have come, but there may be a consideration that I may have to consider if it comes, if and when it comes, I may have to make that consideration,” leaving Costello visibly frustrated.

June 8, 2023: Harrison resigns.

The date on the entry detailing the exchange between Councilman Eric Costello and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison during a budget hearing has been updated to June 6, 2023.

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