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Baltimore narrows list of applicants to oversee police consent decree

City officials have identified six teams that will be considered for the job of overseeing police reforms in Baltimore.

The six, selected from a list of more than two dozen applicants, are vying to become the independent monitor responsible for managing the day-to-day process of implementing reforms mandated under a consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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The finalists announced Friday afternoon are CNA Consulting, DLA Piper, Exiger, Powers Consulting Group, Susan Burke and Venable. They were chosen from 26 teams that submitted lengthy proposals to the city last month.

The consent decree, approved by a federal judge in April, requires extensive reforms to the city's Police Department and allocates up to $1.475 million annually over the three-year term to pay for monitoring compliance. It 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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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 Justice Department investigation found that city police have systemically violated the rights of residents, disproportionately targeted African-Americans, stopped people without proper justification and violated people's civil rights.

The city, the Police Department and the Justice Department are scheduled to recommend one or two finalists to a federal judge the week of Aug. 21.

Once a monitor is selected, it will have 90 days to develop a plan to monitor the consent decree.

At the end of the three-year term, a federal judge will reassess the monitor's contract and may renew the appointment.

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Interim City Solicitor David Ralph said officials were looking for applicants that had experience monitoring consent decrees, as well as sufficient technical assistance and the ability to reach out to the community.

Ralph said the six teams will now be interviewed in private sessions. He said members of the public can submit questions and comments, and the questions will be put to the six applicants during two open meetings planned for mid-August.

CNA is an Arlington, Va., consulting firm with experience in law enforcement reform, including helping 200 police agencies across the country adopt body-camera programs, according to its application. The CNA team 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.

DLA Piper, an international law firm based in Baltimore, has a team led by Charles P. Scheeler, a local attorney who monitored the consent decree among the NCAA, the Big Ten Conference and Pennsylvania State University after the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. The team would also include retired Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson, former Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso, faculty of the University of Baltimore School of Law School and a group from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

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.

Consulting firm Exiger would be led by Jeff Schlanger, a former official in the Manhattan district attorney's office, and include 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.

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. Powers served as the host of "The Powers Report" on WOLB 1010 AM.

A team led by Baltimore-based attorney Susan Burke said in its application that four of its 12-member team are African-American and three are female. Burke lives in Baltimore and has won national attention for handling sexual assault cases in the military.

The last team, Venable, includes Ken Thompson, a partner at the Baltimore-based law firm. He served on former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's transition team, assisting with economic development, and most recently served on Mayor Catherine Pugh's transition team, his online biography says. The team also includes law enforcement experts from across the country, including 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.

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