www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bal-baltimore-police-to-open-up-comstat-meetings-to-the-public-20121126,0,5903252.story

baltimoresun.com

Baltimore Police to open up Comstat meetings to the public

By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

1:16 PM EST, November 26, 2012

Advertisement

The Baltimore Police Department is opening up its weekly information- and statistics-sharing meeting to the public this week, officials announced. 

The commanders' meeting - known as Comstat - has been around for more than a decade, but has never been open to residents. That'll change on Thursday, with the public invited to a 7 p.m. meeting at the police department's Public Safety Training Facility, at 3500 W. Northern Parkway, to watch commanders pore over data and discuss solutions.

Comstat was created in New York City and brought to Baltimore by then-Mayor Martin O'Malley, and has since become widely used across the country. Here, it developed a reputation as a brow-beating session, with police leaders being grilled about crime trends and "gotcha" questions, and was even suspended altogether for a brief period of time in 2010. But officials also credit it with helping police squash emerging crime trends. 

Under new Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, the meetings have become more frequent and less aggressive. Expect them to be even more polite when it's opened up to the public this week.

Statistics that are discussed during the meeting are posted weekly here. But there's a slew of maps and other data captures that police use within the meeting. 

Batts said during an interview on the department's self-produced BPD TV that he wants to open the meeting up on a quarterly basis, but will let turnout dictate whether it continues and how frequently. 

jfenton@baltsun.com