Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison released a sweeping crime plan Thursday that includes new deployment strategies, plans for improved technology and other initiatives to help reduce violence. Here are the major points that you need to know.
10-minute response times
The plan includes new performance goals to ensure response times of 10 minutes or less for “highest priority calls where life or property is in immediate danger.” It also calls for officers to spend a third of their day - when not responding to direct and emergency calls - engaging the community and taking other “proactive efforts.”
‘Focused patrol areas’ created by data
The department has created “focused patrol areas” across the city’s nine districts where officers will be concentrated. These “micro-zones” were developed by evaluating crime data over the past five years and will cover areas where “33% of all gun related incidents have occurred since 2015." The department will continue to evaluate the zones and reconsider locations as the data warrants.
The plan adds that “District Action Teams will focus on their assigned larger zones taking the same proactive measures as patrol (foot patrols, business checks, knock-and-talks, executing warrants).”
Ways to build stronger criminal cases
Detectives will collaborate more often with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the city state’s attorney’s office. City prosecutors will now review not just homicide cases but also non-fatal shootings and armed robberies to “provide a stronger foundation for building and accepting better cases, ensuring that the correct defendants are the ones being prosecuted and convicted." The plan calls for five new prosecutors who will work with federal prosecutors to identify cases that can be charged in federal court, where defendants face harsher penalties.
The department will improve a diversion program called the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) that targets low-level offenders for community-based services instead of jail to reduce the chance of recidivism.
New and better technology
The plan outline several initiates to help manage officers’ time and improve accountability. A new “Records Management System” will allow supervisors to “better track attendance, control overtime, comply with complex contract restrictions, and manage rotation patterns and coverage requirements.” Another system will help track internal affairs cases and help flag potentially troublesome behavior. It will also alert “supervisors when possible issues with officers or units arise.”
A new electronic reporting system will allow officers to write reports while out on the street. Currently, “officers spend thousands of hours each year completing, reviewing, and submitting paper-based police reports that must be hand-keyed into a central database by additional staff." Officers will be able to enter reports from computers in their cars.