Michael Harrison’s proposed $275K salary would be a big bump from his pay in New Orleans

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Incoming Baltimore Police Commissioner and former New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison. Photo via NOPD/Twitter.

With the approval of Baltimore’s spending board this Wednesday, as well as a confirmation vote from the Baltimore City Council in March, Baltimore’s incoming police commissioner would rake in $275,000 a year in salary.

Per terms disclosed in this week’s Board of Estimates agenda, Michael Harrison’s contract would extend from this month through Feb. 11, 2024.

It’s more than the $260,000 that Mayor Catherine Pugh fielded last month, and a 53 percent bump from the $179,000 the longtime New Orleans cop was bringing in down in Louisiana. To add, Harrison will also be drawing in as much as $160,000 annually from his pension with the New Orleans Police Department, The Sun has reported.

City Solicitor Andre Davis said in an email that Harrison’s full contract will be released after it’s approved by the Board of Estimates.

Harrison recently left his police as New Orleans’ police commissioner, a job he’d held since August 2014.

During his tenure, he oversaw the ongoing implementation of a federally enforced consent decree to reform the NOPD. The U.S. Justice Department and NOPD entered into their agreement in January 2013. A report from monitors released in April 2018 said a series of policy changes has made the New Orleans department a “respected, forward-thinking, reform-minded police agency,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Harrison said he hoped to have the department fully compliant with Justice Department regulations by 2020.

Harrison rose through NOPD’s ranks since 1991, when he started as a patrol officer. He went on to serve as a detective in narcotics, sergeant and lieutenant of NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau (tasked with investigating NOPD officers), commander of the Special Investigations Division and in leading posts in two different police districts, before being appointed superintendent in 2014.

He’s now set to start as Baltimore’s acting police commissioner on Feb. 11, and has a hearing set with the council’s Executive Appointments Committee on March 4, which will precede a confirmation vote by the full council.

In the interim, he’ll be meeting with Baltimoreans from all nine of the city’s police districts, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced today. Here’s a list of those locations, dates and times.

If approved, Harrison would be making more than the man originally nominated by Pugh for the job. Joel Fitzgerald, the Fort Worth police chief who withdrew from consideration last month after negative public testimony and his son requiring emergency surgery, was set to earn a salary of $260,000.

Their permanent predecessor (Gary Tuggle has been serving as BPD’s top cop in an interim capacity), Darryl De Sousa, had a much lower annual salary of $210,000 during his short-lived run as commissioner. His predecessor, Kevin Davis, had an annual salary of $212,000 when Pugh fired him at the beginning of 2018.

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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