Oops: Baltimore PD Used as Positive Example in Obama Federal Policing Report

From: Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. -March 2015

1.2 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should acknowledge the role of policing in past and present injustice and discrimination and how it is a hurdle to the promotion of community trust.

[Snide aside: “Tell how you have been bad and tell us how you will be good.”]

At one listening session, a panel of police chiefs described what they had been doing in recent years to recognize and own the history and to change the culture within both the police forces and the communities.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts described the process in his city:

The process started with the commissioning of a study to evaluate the police department and the community’s views of the agency . . . . The review uncovered broken policies, outdated procedures, outmoded technology, and operating norms that put officers at odds with the community they are meant to serve. It was clear that dramatic and dynamic change was needed.

Ultimately, the Baltimore police created the Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau, tasked with rooting out corruption, holding officers accountable, and implementing national best practices for polices and training. New department heads were appointed and a use of force review structure based on the Las Vegas model was implemented. “These were critical infrastructure changes centered on the need to improve the internal systems that would build accountability and transparency, inside and outside the organization,” noted Commissioner Batts.

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Oops.

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