Safer Streets


Originally posted in The Rawlings-Blake Review, Issue #183

Earlier this week, I joined Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and community leaders committed to reducing crime in Baltimore City to release the new strategic plan for the Baltimore Police Department. The report, entitled Public Safety in the City of Baltimore: A Strategic Plan for Improvement, contains comprehensive and far-ranging recommendations, including the implementation of best practices seen across the country.

Reducing crime is my administration’s top priority. We have made progress, but none of us are satisfied. I will never shake the feeling I get from having to console a family who has lost a loved one to senseless violence. Their faces and their stories continue to strengthen my resolve in fighting for a safer Baltimore.

The new strategic plan provides us with a thoughtful set of recommendations for how to more effectively move forward and meet the current challenges we face in the fight against crime. It details steps the police department will undertake over the next five years to reduce crime, improve services, increase efficiency, redouble community engagement, and maintain the highest standards of accountability and ethical integrity.

The report is the result of a months-long top-down review of the Baltimore Police Department, conducted by the Strategic Police Partnership, led by Robert Wasserman, along with the Bratton Group, comprised of nationally recognized law enforcement experts. The comprehensive review provided a thorough and stringent analysis of practices, methods, and procedures across all nine police districts and through every unit in the agency.

Commissioner Batts echoed my sentiments when he said, “We know that there are things as an organization that we are incredibly good at. We also know there exist areas that can be improved. It is my goal to give the officers protecting this city the tools to do their job better…faster…smarter. The strategic recommendations presented [in the plan] are a road map to that goal.”

Even before the report was released, we had already put in place many of its recommended reforms. Our strategy to reduce crime throughout the city by targeting illegal guns, gang activity, and repeat violent offenders correlates directly with the strategic plan. The police department’s renewed focus on community relations and engagement are also mirrored in the report.

We have implemented reforms including improvements to suspect identification procedures, upgrades to law enforcement equipment, the creation of a Telephone Reporting Unit and Professional Standards Bureau, and modifications to the speed at which data is collected and resources are allocated.

If you would like to know more about the future direction of our crime fighting efforts, Public Safety in the City of Baltimore: A Strategic Plan for Improvement can be read in its entirety online.

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