Baltimore Police are down nearly 500 officers, which commissioner Michael Harrison said is preventing the department from complying with the federal consent decree — an order mandating city police to enact reforms with oversight from the U.S. Department of Justice, David Collins report for WBAL TV-11.
How is the staffing shortage interfering with reform?
The consent decree requires police officers to spend 15 to 20 minutes each hour engaged with the community, but Harrison said the department is struggling to meet this goal without the necessary manpower.
“In order to have good community engagement, you have to have the free time. In order to have the free time, you have to have the officers,” Harrison said.
At a hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Chief District Judge James Bredar, the judge overseeing the consent decree, warned Harrison that the department risks noncompliance if it doesn’t hire more officers and expressed concerns that city police had yet to finish rolling out a mobile crisis response unit and its state-of-the-art records management system.
Anything else I should know?
At the hearing, Bredar praised the city’s Gun Violence Reduction Strategy Program, Community Violence Intervention Ecosystem, 911 diversion plan, and its new training policy.
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