Baltimore new deputy commissioner—one of four serving under top cop Michael Harrison—is leaving his job with the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office to oversee the Baltimore Police Department’s internal affairs section.
Brian Nadeau will oversee internal investigations for a department working to reform itself under a federal consent decree that took effect in 2017. Nadeau has served as assistant special agent-in-charge of the local FBI field office since January 2015. He’ll start his new job working for the city in September.
Harrison said at a press conference Thursday that his appointee couldn’t take questions because he’s still working for the FBI through the end of the month, but in brief remarks, Nadeau called the job “a challenge” that he’s looking forward to.
“And I’m looking forward to working with you and the citizens of Baltimore, the Baltimore Police Department and the FOP [police union] to make this work effectively,” Nadeau told reporters.
Harrison said Nadeau is a strong pick because he’s “quite familiar with some of the challenges we are facing, but he’s also very aware of the many strengths of the city and the department.”
“I have no doubt that Deputy Commissioner Nadeau will play a major role in making the Baltimore Police Department a more effective, a more efficient police department, and Baltimore a safer city. We’re very fortunate to be bringing him aboard.”
Nadeau’s first duty will be assessing personnel needs and processes for reporting complaints. Nadeau will be tasked with making sure the unit of more than 50 employees is investigating complaints “with competency and [ensuring] that it brings about a fair and just outcome that both satisfies the citizen’s complaint and makes sure that due process is actually served,” Harrison said.
Consent decree monitors recently called out the department for slow progress in fixing how it probes misconduct by its own officers, writing in a report that BPD needs more investigators to perform thorough, timely reviews. The department has been better about investigating complaints by officers against their own colleagues than complaints coming from the general public, the report noted.
Monitors also highlighted that the Public Integrity Bureau is still not finished with internal reviews stemming from the infamous Gun Trace Task Force Scandal, and has yet to authorize an independent investigation into “the root causes of the scandal.”
To add, The Sun recently found BPD’s internal affairs detectives have allowed 76 cases against officers to expire since 2016 due to a lack of timely investigations.
Nadeau began his career in law enforcement as a cop in Maine before joining the FBI’s New York Field Office in 1997. He later took on a role supervising public corruption cases, and was promoted to supervising special agent-in-charge of the New York office’s Public Corruption Program in 2008.
He was later brought to D.C. to be chief of the FBI’s Public Corruption Unit overseeing all such investigations around the country, Harrison said. Nadeau joined the Baltimore office in 2015.
The longtime federal investigator’s background differs from that of Harrison’s initial pick for the post. Michelle Wilson, an assistant Maryland attorney general, was selected as deputy commissioner of internal affairs in May, but two days later the department retreated from the announcement.
Politics may have been a factor. At the time, Wilson had recently signed a sworn affidavit supporting a former prosecutor who sued Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for firing her, alleging she was let go as retribution for supporting Mosby’s opponent and predecessor, Gregg Bernstein, during the 2014 election that put Mosby in office.
Wilson also reportedly penned a Facebook post that said Mosby “lied on that witness stand under oath” during the trial for the former prosecutor’s case, which ultimately ended with a verdict in Mosby’s favor. Wilson later deleted the post.
Of the decision not to move forward with Wilson, BPD said in May that “because this is a personnel matter, and based on the advice of the city solicitor, we cannot comment further.” Wilson is still employed by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.
The commissioner said Nadeau’s appointment was the result of a national search in which the city considered numerous candidates.
Asked if he consulted with Mosby about the hire, Harrison responded, “I absolutely did, and I got positive feedback from our state’s attorney, who supports my decision.”
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