Reports: Acting Commissioner Tuggle has withdrawn his application for BPD’s top job

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Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle discusses a viral video showing a police officer assaulting a man at an Aug. 13 press conference. Image via Facebook Live.

Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner has taken himself out of the running to be Baltimore’s next permanently appointed top cop, according to reports.

Tuggle, who’s served as the Baltimore Police Department’s interim commissioner since Mayor Catherine Pugh appointed him May 15, voluntarily withdrew his application from a pool of more than 50, City Solicitor Andre Davis said this morning at a quarterly public hearing on the department’s court-mandated police reforms, according to reports.

WBAL-TV’s Jayne Miller and The Sun’s Jessica Anderson both reported the news first.

Baltimore Fishbowl has reached out to the mayor’s office and BPD for comment.

Outside the hearing, Tuggle told reporters turning the department around would take an “extended commitment,” and that he could not stay in the commissioner’s role long enough for “personal reasons.”

Tuggle, 54, stepped in as acting commissioner after Darryl De Sousa, who was chosen by Pugh to replace Kevin Davis in January, was suspended amid a federal indictment for failing to file his taxes from 2013 through 2015. De Sousa himself had chosen Tuggle to be one of his two deputy commissioners this past winter.

Tuggle had recently retired from a post as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s division in Philadelphia. He spent 26 years with the federal agency before returning to Baltimore, where he grew up and got his start as a police officer in 1986.

Pugh has been supportive of Tuggle during his time as head of the department.

“I respect Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle’s personal decision to no longer be a candidate for the next commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department,” Pugh said in a statement Tuesday. “I continue to value his leadership, depth of experience and professionalism as we work to create a Police Department that earns the trust and confidence of Baltimore citizens each and every day.”

Tuggle has weathered a smattering of scandals within the department over the last five months, including officers resigning or being terminated for assault or being intoxicated on the job, a top commander quitting after reportedly throwing a chair during a meeting and the release of a controversial report by an independent review board of investigators that determined Det. Sean Suiter took his own life in a Harlem Park vacant lot last November.

He’s also presided over the department amid a recent surge in murders, with 27 in the last two weeks, per The Sun’s homicide tracker. In response, he ordered the deployment of more than 600 officers, sergeants and lieutenants onto city streets over three days last week, and suspended leave.

“We can’t just sit back on our hands and let this thing play out,” he said of the recent spike in violence. “We have to try and get in front of it.”

On the search for a permanent police commissioner, Pugh said at her weekly press briefing last week, “I expect to have someone named by the end of the month.” The city has received more than 50 applications, she has said.

Asked if Tuggle was still being considered for the job, she answered in the affirmative.

This story has been updated.

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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