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Number of finalists to oversee Baltimore police reforms reduced to four; public forums next week

Four teams vying to oversee sweeping police reforms in Baltimore will speak with the community at two public forums next week.

City and U.S. Department of Justice officials recently pared down a list of finalists for the job of independent monitor from six teams to four. The monitor will be responsible for managing the day-to-day process of implementing reforms mandated under a federal consent decree.

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The four teams are CNA Consulting, Exiger, Powers Consulting Group, and Venable. They were chosen from 26 teams that submitted proposals to the city in June, and followed a round of interviews with city and Justice Department officials this month.

The applications of the more than two dozen teams vying to monitor the court-backed civil rights reforms at the Baltimore Police Department reveal two different paths the city could take: Draw on deep local knowledge to tailor a package of changes or hire a group with a track record in other big cities.

The consent decree, approved by a federal judge in April, allocates up to $1.475 million annually over a three-year term to pay for monitoring compliance. The consent decree was the result of a wide-ranging Justice Department civil rights investigation ordered after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody.

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The city and Justice Department are scheduled to recommend finalists to a federal judge the week of Aug. 21.Once a monitor is selected, the chosen team will have 90 days to develop a plan to monitor the consent decree.

The remaining teams are:

• CNA, an Arlington, Va., consulting firm, has helped 200 police agencies across the country adopt body-camera programs. It is headed by Rodney Monroe, who retired as Charlotte, N.C.'s police chief in 2015 and is now monitoring a consent decree in Meridian, Miss. The team also includes Johnny Rice, a criminal justice professor at Coppin State University.

• Exiger is led by Jeff Schlanger, a former official in the Manhattan district attorney's office, and includes Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, whose department is in the process of completing consent decree reforms, and Charles Ramsey, who was previously chief of the Philadelphia and District of Columbia police departments as they underwent similar Department of Justice-ordered reforms.

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• The Powers Consulting Group is led by Tyrone Powers, who lives in Baltimore and previously served as a Maryland state trooper and FBI agent, and retired Prince George's County Circuit Judge C. Phillip Nichols.

• Venable is headed by Ken Thompson, a partner at the Baltimore-based law firm, and includes Robert McNeilly, who previously served as Pittsburgh police chief, and Mary Ann Viverette, who served as Gaithersburg's police chief and was the first female president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

More than two dozen teams have applied to serve as the independent monitor overseeing police reforms in Baltimore under the consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a list of applicants obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Two other teams had been initially named as finalists, but have since been removed from contention. One team was led by attorney Susan Burke, and the other was DLA Piper, an international law firm based in Baltimore.

Two public meetings will be held next week. The first is Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Baltimore City Community College Fine Arts Auditorium, at 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue. The second is Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morgan State University Student Center, second floor in Ballroom C, at 1700 East Cold Spring Lane.

Twenty-six teams are vying to be the independent monitor that oversees sweeping changes to the Baltimore Police Department ordered under a federal consent decree. Below are the applications in full obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

The public can send comments and questions on the four remaining teams by Sunday. Public comments should be submitted to Baltimore.Consent.Decree@usdoj.gov or mail to: Puneet Cheema, United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20530.

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