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Police should work in pairs, national study recommends

A series of law enforcement recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice includes having two officers respond to every call, a policy enacted by Baltimore City and Baltimore County police in July.

The report, released Friday, analyzed 684 cases of line-of-duty officer deaths between 2010 and 2014. The DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services funded the report, which was produced by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

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Researchers were finalizing the report and producing their recommendations when five police officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas and later three officers were killed in an attack in Baton Rouge, La.

Those police killings changed law enforcement policies across the country, including at local police agencies.

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Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said sending two vehicles to each call offers greater flexibility than having two officers in one car.

"The safety of our police officers is paramount to their families, our community, and me," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement at the time. "Our capacity to serve relies on our commitment to keep our police officers safe as they protect our community."

Baltimore police came under fire on July 14 in the 2300 block of Winchester St. in West Baltimore. Officers Warren Benn and Christopher Thomas returned fire, killing a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle.

Other local law enforcement agencies, including the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Harford County Sheriff's Office and Howard County Police Department, said in July they did not plan any changes.

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The report also noted that domestic calls for service were the highest number of fatal call types. It also noted that nearly three in four officers were killed with handguns. Other recommendations in the report included greater information sharing among departments, so officers know what to expect when responding to a call.

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