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Baltimore Police Department requests extension to double training academy staff

The Baltimore Police Department continues to work to bolster its training academy staff, and is requesting a three-week extension within the consent decree schedule to double its personnel.

The request filed Monday by the independent monitoring team on behalf of the police department and the U.S. Justice Department said the extension will not affect upcoming training schedules.

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“[T]he additional time will permit BPD to engage with new leadership on bolstering the Training Academy and to the make thoughtful, competitive selections of well-qualified personnel for these key positions,” the filing says.

Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has been on the job for two weeks, meeting with residents and other stakeholders. During those meetings, he’s stressed the importance of properly training officers.

The federal judge overseeing the Baltimore police consent decree on Thursday called for the state to contribute money towards a new city police training facility, and also disputed recent comments by the governor that reforms and crime reduction can’t occur simultaneously.

This year, officers are expected to undergo additional training on revised policies in the areas of use of force, body-worn cameras, impartial policing and stops, searches and arrests.

The department has already moved five new people to the academy, and must add five more. The request moves the deadline from Monday, Feb. 25, to March 18.

A staffing study released in August recommended increasing and reorganizing academy staff to meet training needs.

The staffing report also noted how New Orleans, also under a federal consent decree, nearly doubled its training academy staff from 13 to 23 and adjusted the number of adjunct instructors.

The consent decree reached between the city and Justice Department requires extensive policing reforms after a federal investigation found officers routinely violated residents’ civil rights.

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