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Former Baltimore Police Commissioner: BPD culture was concerning

Anthony Batts details state of police department when he took over
Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 18:28:34-04

BALTIMORE — "It was one of the most battered police situations I've seen in my career."

That's just part of the testimony from former Baltimore Police Department police commissioner Anthony Batts.

He spoke at a virtual meeting for the commission to restore trust in policing today. The commission was created to investigate the roots of the gun trace task force scandal.

Batts says while he doesn't want to seem like he's bad-mouthing the department, he thought a vast majority of the systems were broken when he got there.

He also says the overall culture of the department concerned him.

"The things that I saw when I walked that concerned me is the overall culture within the organization. What I could tell from the culture and excuse my language, I think it was a culture of people trying to be [expletive] instead of a police department focused on community policing. I saw the use of force was, what I thought, too high for an organization that of size. I saw police-involved shootings I believe the level was too high. The policies were outdated."

Batts says seven out of the nine of the department's substations had significant security issues, there were concerns about the evidence room with money and or drugs, and uniforms, cars, and tactics on the street were not up to standard. In addition, Batts says there was too much overtime, sick time, and injured on duty time being used.

Batts acknowledged that corruption in Baltimore is not new. However, he thinks the city doesn't have respect for the police commissioner's position, leaving them powerless.

Batts served in Baltimore for about 3 years from 2012 to 2015. He was the commissioner during the unrest over the death of Freddie Gray. He was fired 3 months after Gray's death. Since then he's been doing consulting work.