Police reform oversight applicants vying for position in Baltimore

Independent Monitor required by consent decree
Posted at 11:11 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 06:35:06-04

Dozens listened at Coppin State University as applicants from all over the country made their case to help reform Baltimore's police department.

The agreement between Baltimore City and the Department of Justice, known as the consent decree, requires an Independent Monitor be chosen to make sure police reform actually happens. Twenty-six different firms applied for the job.

"This is a generational moment in the history of our city," said Ray Kelly with No Boundaries Coalition. "There may never be another consent decree in this country."

Thursday's town hall meeting was organized by the Coalition for Justice, Safety and Jobs. 

The applicants all had the opportunity to talk about their background and qualifications in law enforcement. The group of experts mostly come from law enforcement backgrounds, including former police commissioners from Philadelphia, Virginia and Dallas.

They also took turns answering tough questions from the public on topics of race, reforms they would fight for, and how they would avoid a mutually beneficial relationship with police. Some in the audience left wanting more explanation.

"There needs to be clarification on who has authority over what," said resident William Washington. "We need clarification on that and we need clarification on law enforcement officials' Bill of Rights." 

"To me the most important part thing is to push for the Civilian Review Board to have the same amount of power as the Internal Affairs Department of the police," said one audience member.

City residents have until July 17 to submit a comment on the applicants.

The City will also be holding two public meetings in August for Independent Monitor finalists to answer more questions from the public. It says by the end of next month, one or two candidates will be recommended to the court.

All of the answers from Thursday's town hall can be viewed here.