Members of the Baltimore police union voted Tuesday night to accept the city's final contract offer. According to Robert F. Cherry, president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police, members turned out in "overwhelming numbers" to accept the contract. The vote followed months of negotiations that produced a deal that would cut $5 million from the police budget and bring long-sought changes in shift schedules. Under the agreement, officers will no longer be forced to work six-day weeks. While they would gain an average of seven days of vacation, five of those days would be unpaid. It would help control the number of officers who could take off on a given day, thus limiting the amount of overtime needed to fill vacant slots. The deal will go into effect Jan. 17 and run through June 30, the end of the budget year. The parties will then have to negotiate another deal.
-From Sun staff and news services