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Head of Baltimore police internal affairs to retire

The man who oversees the Baltimore Police Department’s Bureau for Professional Standards and Accountability is stepping down.

Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez will retire at the end of the month, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Rodriguez oversaw the department’s internal affairs and created what he called “teachable moments on steroids” as part of the city’s response to cut down on its large number of police brutality settlements.

Rodriguez and City Solicitor George A. Nilson told me last year that one of the biggest obstacles in the teachable moments program is that settlements are often reached several years after the underlying incident occurs, slowing down any changes to police practices.

Under Rodriguez’s watch, however, any complaint now filed against a police officer in court gets copied to the internal affairs division, which can start its own investigation and potentially remedy the problem before it gets to court.

“If there is a policy gap or lapse we want to address it,” Rodriguez said in November. “The goal of what we’re trying to do is eliminate red tape for officers and trying to eliminate barriers for officers so they can do their jobs safely and within civil and criminal laws.”

Rodriguez added that any “successful” city police department has to have good communication with its law department to identify teachable moments.

Police spokesmen told The Sun that a replacement for Rodriguez would be named at a later date.