Frederick H. Bealefeld III's five-year tenure at the helm of the Baltimore Police Department came to an official end Tuesday. Here's how he said goodbye to his 3,000-member force via e-mail:
"On my last official day as a member of the Baltimore Police Department I wanted to say what an honor it has been for me to have been associated with all of you these past 31 years.
I started here in 1981 as a cadet working in the Hot Desk and then later in the Identification Section. Those ladies in Central Records took care of us and treated us from the very beginning like family. There are still a few of them around and they deserve a lot of credit for keeping me on course. I was a young patrolman in the WD and will forever be bonded by the fraternity of cops who served in that great district.
I needed directions to get to the Southwest District Station house as a newly promoted Sergeant but soon learned that the BPD was a much bigger place. I learned from a squad of 12 unique people what a leader should be and worked to serve them the right way.
I was blessed to work for many years in drug enforcement and connected with hundreds of you through street rips, search warrants, or wire taps. We poured our lives in to that work and did some really great things. We were supported by hundreds more that never get enough credit, dispatchers, payroll clerks, evidence control technicians, and many others.
My time in CID exposed me to even more really dedicated people trying their best to help victims while holding on to their own personal lives, something that law enforcement professionals never get enough credit for. And in the face of so much pain and anguish, many of you showed me hope and laughter were still in the world too.
As a young shift commander in the ED I saw from the best vantage point possible the value of team work. The Sergeants and Officers I had on that shift could handle anything and always had my back and made me proud every day.
I had a first rate crew in DES and I know that the detectives out there now are doing great work but damn, those old school guys and gals paved the way through the high water mark of the fight. They might be a little over weight now or look more like your aunt then your sister but they did all the stuff you are doing now and did it really well. They came early and stayed late for me many times and I had little to offer except my appreciation for a job well done.
I was sent to the SD I think in the hopes that I would fail but the crew in that district, from the admin staff to the operations unit, every single one of them stepped up and we hit it out of the ball park. The officers connected with the community, the drug unit smashed nuisance locations, and we made people safer. Again, a family of people took care of me and trusted me enough to follow, I could not have asked them to do more.
As a senior commander I could see that behind the scenes of all of the operational units were many people dedicated to making the BPD great, from recruitment and personnel, the academy staff, to the amazing folks in the lab, and the crazy talented people in MIS and P&R, again, hundreds of people who played a significant role in making my life easier and more successful.
As your Commissioner, I finished my career surrounded by people who came to work every day and tried to make me and the BPD better. I was blessed with a senior command staff that was loyal and leaned in and ran the plays even when they weren't sure if they would work. They trusted me and worked in the face of the most difficult of times- a change in Mayoral leadership, and the worst financial situation in decades. My staff, PIO, Legal, EEO, IID, ISD, Pete and Annee, enabled me to try. They were very often behind the scene and often the people I stressed out the most but no Commissioner was ever better served.
Finally, if I am able to say anything, and get people to hear, I know that I did very little. It has been all of you who have done the difficult work and the heavy lifting of making the BPD great and the City safer. Thank you.
I have been privileged to be in your company, honored to be your Commissioner, and blessed to be your friend. I pray that you find your way home safely and I bid you all a very fond farewell.
Fred Bealefeld"Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times