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Baltimore to pay $50K to train police on how to legally stop people

City officials are set to pay $50,000 to a local law firm to better train police officers on how to legally stop people they encounter, among other topics.

The Board of Estimates is expected to award the contract, to be funded through a federal grant, on Wednesday.

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The firm, Warnken LLC, headed by University of Baltimore law professor Byron Warnken, was selected by the Baltimore state's attorney's office. The contract lasts from May 6 to June 30.

Warnken said he has created a 130-page document to train more than 300 police officers. His three sessions will be entitled, "Cars, Cops & Stops," "Seeking, Obtaining, and Executing Arrest Warrants and Search Warrants," and "Preparing for and Presenting Police Testimony in Court."

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Warnken said city officials asked him to do the training prior to the national furor over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody. Six officers are charged criminally in that case.

Warnken said officers will be selected at random to go through the 12-hour training program. He said he will be explaining Maryland law regarding "stops," "stops and frisks" and "what the police can do and should do."

"Maryland law holds that running in the sight of police is not enough for probable cause," he said. A charging document in Gray's case said police chased and detained him because "he fled unprovoked" from officers.

Rochelle Ritchie, a spokeswoman for State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, said the training is designed to "improve case outcomes."

"Training has been a top priority of this administration and has been in the works since State's Attorney Mosby took office," Ritchie said.

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