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PSL's Sheldon Greenberg quoted on police criticism in Baltimore Sun

A string of recent misconduct by Baltimore police officers has caused some questions about the leadership of Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld, and Division of Public Safety Leadership Director Sheldon Greenberg was quoted in the Baltimore Sun's story on the subject.

Bealefeld's department has suffered a string of recent controversy, with several incidents - the fatal shooting of a plainclothes officer by fellow officers outside of a nightclub in January, over 50 officers implicated in a towing kickback scheme and a veteran officer being indicted for sellling drugs while on duty - leading some to question his authority, though downward trends in crime have him in the good graces of the political leadership by and large.

"The reality is, chiefs of police nationwide work for a political leader, and their tenure is based on how they serve that political leader," Greenberg said. "What politicians want first and foremost is good stats, and they're willing to forgo a lot of other things if their chiefs give them good statistics."

Greenberg said police chiefs should be accountable for what happens on their watch. "The question is, is it an isolated situation? These could be very isolated situations that happen to be coming to the fore in a tight time period, or they may arise when you start looking into things and find other things," he said.

In one city, Greenberg said, a police chief with just a few weeks on the job was run out of town after an officer shot and killed a teenage boy. In other cities, chiefs can weather scandal after scandal, crisis after crisis, for years. Problems may be deeply entrenched, and fixes can take years to be realized.

"There's a difference between mistakes and wrongdoing," he said.

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