Baltimore Asks for $30M to Invest in Police Training, Technology, Staffing
Baltimore is asking the state for more than $30 million to spend on staffing, technology, facilities and more. The improvements are intended to meet the terms of an expected consent decree with Department of Justice.
The Baltimore police department came under heated criticism after the death of Freddy Grey in April 2015. The incident and subsequent verdicts created unrest in Baltimore and drove a huge amount of citizen and federal scrutiny into police training and practices. The Justice Department’s investigation showed that Baltimore police had systematically violated rights of local residents. Violations were spotted in virtually all aspects of daily police work, including officers stopping and searching black motorists and pedestrians, and inappropriately dismissing reported sexual assaults.
The same report noted that the Baltimore Police Department is markedly behind in technology investments. Staffing is an ongoing challenge as well. While departments across the U.S. are facing shortages of officers and struggling with retention and recruitment, Baltimore’s understaffing was a particular problem. The report said lack of adequate staffing meant “forcing officers to work overtime after long shifts, lowering morale, and leading to officers working with deteriorated decision-making skills.”
Mayor Rawlings-Blake wants to address the reforms needed with major investments, including:
- $20 million over five years for an “Early Warning System” that would “identify problematic behavior from BPD officers at an early stage and implement appropriate remedies (intervention, training, termination, etc.)”
- $9 million next year to renovate police stations
- $2.4 million to put mobile data terminals in all of the department’s patrol vehicles
- a crisis intervention team to train police how to deal with the mentally ill
- training officers in appropriate sexual assault investigation techniques