BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police after the final consent decree hearing for the year feel they’re moving in the right direction.
Not all bad news coming from Tuesday’s hearing. In fact, the judge overseeing compliance commended BPD for some of the changes made so far even with their current staffing challenges.
But he stressed the time has come to dig into the data and analyze BPD’s progress more precisely.
4 and a half years into Its road to compliance with the Department of justice BPD is celebrating small victories.
“Everybody was quite complimentary of the department and the progress we’ve made so far while always acknowledging there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s still a long way to go,” said BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison.
Data shows BPD improved emergency response times by nearly 20 percent between 2017 and 2019.
Use of force statistics from 2018 to 2019 show a reduction in use of force by 20 percent and a higher quality of investigations into excessive force cases and searches.
“We’ve build now the foundation and done the foundational work to change the coverage of the agency,” Harrison said.
But the monitoring team did make note of some challenges they’ve discovered in their baseline assessment .
In 2018, 40 percent of internal investigations were considered unacceptable or poor.
The monitoring team determined 2 thirds of follow ups with civilians were not sufficient. And 60 percent of internal investigations missed their 90-day deadline.
Though the road ahead remains complex, integrity, staffing, training and use of updated technology maintained priority in the hearing.
Regarding Staffing so far this year the department has had 65 resignations by choice in comparison to the 73 in total the year before.
Regarding training, the monitoring team and DOJ concluded both training facilities were ‘dilapidated' and inadequate for the volume of violence BPD officers encounter everyday.
“We look forward number 1 fixing what’s wrong with it right now and then figuring out how we can have a long term sustainable training facility to deal with lethal and less than lethal training," said Harrison.
The monitoring team made note of poor training practices so far concerning lack of professionalism, classes ending earlier than outlined and some material even going uncovered.
The judge and Department of Justice did emphasize some of the positives Baltimore Police have made so far saying it could be a long road getting into compliance making note of cities like L.A. that spent over 10 years in a consent decree.