Richard Hite has been appointed “interim IMPD Chief” following the resignation of Paul Ciesielski. Hite retired from the Baltimore Police Department several years ago, but was hired by Public Safety Director Frank Straub in 2010 to be one of many new civilian Deputy Public Safety Directors. IMPD Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Valerie Cunningham has also been demoted and placed on paid administrative leave. These moves by Mayor Ballard and Director Straub come as a result of a perceived mishandling of evidence in the David Bisard case, specifically “vial #2” of David Bisard’s blood taken after the fatal crash. Apparently this vile, along with others, was moved from the main Property Room to the Property Room Annex and stored improperly. Mayor Ballard said during a news conference that he has asked the FBI to assist in investigating the mishandling of evidence.
Just an observation: If Director Straub is as big a micro-manager as everyone on IMPD says he is, then why are Cunningham, Ciesielski and some Lieutenant being demoted and/or placed on administrative leave pending an FBI investigation? Straub cannot have it both ways; either he is managing and in control of IMPD or he isn’t. Maybe the Mayor should have placed Straub on administrative leave and/or Straub should have accepted responsibility for the mishandling of evidence and resigned. IMPD has seemed to be in complete turmoil since Straub assumed the reigns over this agency. It’s possible that IMPD has some archaic policies and practices that need reformed, but Straub exudes the impression that IMPD is a reckless agency out of control and unwilling to reform to his liking. I prefer to acknowledge the obvious; IMPD has had major personnel and morale problems ever since Straub arrived.