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Baltimore consent decree monitoring team releases second-year plan that sets goals for training, other areas

The monitoring team overseeing the Baltimore Police Department consent decree released a draft Friday of its second-year plan, which largely calls for the training of officers on new policies.

Officials are asking for the public to submit feedback on the schedule of reforms that are to be rolled out next year.

“Under the Second Year Plan, BPD will devise training curricula on revised policies and train officers on use of force, fair and impartial policing, stops/searches/arrests, and body-worn camera policies,” the plan says.

The plan also calls for the police department to develop new training programs in areas such as sexual assault investigations, crisis intervention, interactions with youth, and community policing. The training of officers in these areas is scheduled to take place in 2020.

The consent decree was reached last year between the city and the U.S. Justice Department. Implementation of the reforms is expected to take five years or more, depending on the department’s progress. The decree stemmed from a Justice Department investigation that found widespread discriminatory and unconstitutional policing in Baltimore, particularly in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods. The investigation was prompted by the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody.

In the second-year draft plan, the monitoring team warned that meeting the deadlines could be stymied by an understaffed training academy.

“At present, there is a possibility that the Second Year Plan, as drafted, could overwhelm the capacity of the Academy’s existing personnel, which is presently understaffed, as BPD concluded in the Staffing Study issued earlier this year,” the report says.

U.S. District Judge Jame K. Bredar has also warned that progress will be hindered until a permanent police commissioner is on the job.

The second-year plan also sets goals such as creating a “robust model of community policing” to improve community relations; upgrading technology, which is expected to cost the city up to $65 million; assessing youth diversion programs; and finding ways to recruit and retain quality officers, among other improvements.

The public comment period is open through through Jan. 24.

Comments can be submitted by completing a survey online on the monitoring team’s website, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BPDMTPlanSurvey.

Emails can be sent to info@bpdmonitor.com, or by mail to the BPD Monitoring Team c/o Kenneth Thompson Venable LLP 750 East Pratt Street, Suite 900 Baltimore, MD 21202.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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