Criminal misconduct dominates Baltimore police terminations

Criminal misconduct led to 25 percent of firings in the Baltimore Police Department.

Even as leaders of the Baltimore Police Department work to improve the agency's image, documents show that criminal misconduct dominates the reasons for employee terminations.

From late September 2012 to May 4, 2015, 18 employees — 25 percent of the 72 cases — were either fired or forced to resign in lieu of termination because of criminal convictions or criminal misconduct, according to records The Baltimore Sun obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request.

Besides criminal misconduct or convictions, nine employees were forced out for making either false statements or false reporting. Another nine were ousted for misconduct, but the records don't specify the type of misconduct.

The Sun requested a breakdown of the 72 separations. Of those, 55 were sworn officers; 16 were either trainees or probationary workers; and one was a civilian employee, records show.

Some reasons for other forced separations include insubordination, narcotics violations, domestic violence, unsatisfactory performance, "multiple DUIs," and being absent without leave. Twelve of the separations don't specify the charges officers faced. Maryland law prevents employee names from being released.

Of the 72 separations, 26 are listed as terminations. Twelve show "retired in lieu of termination." If the remaining 46 employees who resigned or retired fought the charges, the department would have had to win a conviction at a trial board.

An officer who chooses to resign or retire in lieu of facing termination waives the right to an internal trial board hearing and appeal allowed under the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, which provides procedural protections for officers accused of misconduct.

The Police Department terminations garnered headlines in the aftermath of April's unrest, when then-Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters he fired 50 employees for misconduct. The 50 terminations that he mentioned did not match records the department had provided months earlier, as The Sun was investigating brutality allegations.

In June, Batts issued a report saying 72 forced separations occurred under his leadership. "Twenty-six of those separations are terminations," the statement said. "The remaining forty-six are individuals who resigned or retired in lieu of termination."

Batts, who took over as commissioner in 2012, pledged to combat misconduct within the department. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired him in July, saying his leadership was distracting to efforts to end a spike in homicides.

mpuente@baltsun.com

Reasons for termination

Here are the reasons for 72 employee terminations in the Baltimore Police Department from late September 2012 to May 4, 2015.

Felony or criminal conviction: 3

Criminal misconduct: 15

False statements/false reporting: 9

Misconduct: 9

Source: Baltimore Police Department

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