BALTIMORE (WMAR) — The president of the chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police representing the Baltimore Police Department released a statement Tuesday criticizing the Police Commissioner Michael Harrison's proposed crime plan.
"I applaud the fact that Commissioner Harrison believes that he can make a difference in what is a very bad situation in our city," President Mike Mancuso wrote in a statement. "I have no doubt that his success in New Orleans made him look like the perfect candidate for his current position. Unfortunately, Baltimore is not New Orleans and success implementing a federal consent decree in New Orleans does not not translate to solving our deep-rooted crime problem in Baltimore."
In his plans, Commissioner Harrison pointed out a strategy of targeting specific areas in the city, increasing the rate and quality of interactions in the city, and marshaling technological resources in order to understand and prevent illicit activities across the city.
The FOP stated that BPD is 500 police officers short of the number required for effective policing and because of that, the department 'won't be able to, under any circumstances, implement the crime plan as intended."
Full Statement from FOP President Mike Mancuso:
The Baltimore Police Department is currently 500 Police Officers short of the number required for effectiveness, with 400 of those positions needed in the Patrol Division. The current deployment of Patrol Officers will not be able to, under any circumstances, implement the new crime plan as intended. As it stands now, there are not enough Officers to even respond to the number of calls to 911, not to mention the addition of micro-zones, community engagement, and proactive policing. The plan, as presented, is untenable.
The Department’s financial needs are vast! Our physical structures are hazardous and failing, while our cars and equipment are lacking and outdated. In order for any new plan to be effective it must begin with the truth regarding the reality of the Department’s current resources. Commissioner Harrison’s plan does not! In fact, it is written as if the Baltimore Police Department is flush with trained personnel, modern technology, and unlimited fiscal resources. In terms of technology, the current systems do not interact with each other and the Department is often unable to account for the status of our Officers or their location of assignment. Any crime plan must begin with the stark reality of the current resources available, not the resources that are desired. Those resources must certainly include Police Officers!
This leads us to Commissioner Harrison’s recent public assertion that Baltimore is not a dangerous place; a comment which left me speechless. For him to try to alleviate the public’s fear of being a victim of violent crime by stating that most suspects and victims know each other, is outright fantasy. As a 30-year active veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, and the current President of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3, I want the public, both citizens and visitors, to know that the current public safety situation in Baltimore is precarious, despite the Commissioner’s unfortunate attempt to appease you. Baltimore is a dangerous city and the utmost care and caution should be taken as you go about your daily tasks. Unlike Commissioner Harrison, I have no reason to sugar coat the City’s current condition regarding crime. My position is not dependent on the support of the Mayor and City Council. I am only beholden to the members of FOP #3, both active and retired, and to my Oath to serve and protect the public. I would enjoy nothing more than to, once again, see a vibrant Baltimore without fear for the public’s safety. That, however, is not the current reality and I cannot even begin to predict, at this point, when it ever will be again. But I can assure you that I will be frank and honest with you because the lawlessness in Baltimore must stop. The blood of many of my Brothers and Sisters, in FOP #3, has been left on these streets and the current state of the City makes us all sick.
I applaud the fact that Commissioner Harrison believes that he can make a difference in what is a very bad situation in our City, and I have no doubt that his success in New Orleans made him look like the perfect candidate for his current position. Unfortunately, Baltimore is not New Orleans and success implementing a Federal Consent Decree in New Orleans does not translate to solving our deep-rooted crime problem in Baltimore
BPD Commissioner Harrison responded to the FOP's statement on his proposed crime plan and stated that although their concerns are expressed, "Mayor Jack Young, the Baltimore City Council, Baltimore’s delegation to the Maryland Legislature, Baltimore’s federal Congressional delegation, and national policing organizations comprised of current and former police chiefs and law enforcement experts have all been overwhelmingly supportive of both plans."
Full Statement from Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison:
My five-year Departmental Transformational Plan, along with my Crime Reduction Strategy, is designed to make BPD more efficient and effective, and the city significantly safer. In addition, one of my highest priorities as Commissioner is making BPD a better place to work. To that end, as the plans clearly explain, we are launching numerous new initiatives, including a renewed focus on recruitment and retention to increase the number of officers on the street; improving technology and applying smart deployment strategies to reduce officers' workloads; and improving working conditions to increase officer morale.
Mayor Jack Young, the Baltimore City Council, Baltimore’s delegation to the Maryland Legislature, Baltimore’s federal Congressional delegation, and national policing organizations comprised of current and former police chiefs and law enforcement experts have all been overwhelmingly supportive of both plans.