Annapolis Mayor Fires Police Chief after Spike in Homicides

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Now-former Police Chief Michael Pristoop (left) talks with Mayor Michael Pantelides on a radio show. Photo via Mayor Michael Pantelides/Facebook.

After almost a decade spent leading the Annapolis Police Department, Michael Pristoop has been let go.

WBAL was among the first to report that the capital city’s Mayor Michael Pantelides dismissed Pristoop this morning. His firing arrives as Annapolis is coming off a record-high 10 homicides in 2016 and two so far in 2017.

Pantelides said in a statement that the personnel change “is not about the person, but rather about creating a new direction for policing and enforcement efforts.” He also said he is “grateful for Chief Pristoop’s dedication to our citizens and his commitment to protecting our city for nearly nine years.”

The city will appoint Maj. Scott Baker as his acting replacement while it conducts a national search for a permanent one, according to the Capital Gazette.

Annapolis and Baltimore are two very different cities — Baltimore’s murder rate per 100,000 people was exactly double that of Annapolis last year — but both share the problem of dealing with an uptick in violence. Baltimore saw 318 homicides in 2016, the second most on record, and has already recorded 40 homicides in 39 days this year.

Mayor Catherine Pugh told the Sun’s Luke Broadwater today that the city’s current policing strategy “is not working to the extent we need it to.”

Both police departments are also hiring more officers to handle to increase in violent crime. The Capital Gazette reports the city is looking to fill eight new positions. The Baltimore Police Department, meanwhile, has been given the go-ahead from Pugh to hire more than 100 new officers for patrol shifts in hopes of lowering crime.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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