Baltimore police monitor to hire 17 community liaisons

The Baltimore consent decree monitoring team is hiring 17 neighborhood liaisons to field complaints and comments from residents about their experiences with the police department.

The liaisons will serve as “localized points of access to the Monitoring Team across the City,” according to a statement released by the monitoring team Friday. The new team members will be tasked with conveying the concerns, complaints and other feedback to the monitoring team responsible for ensuring the police department is complying with the federal consent decree. The monitor will hire at least one liaison for each of the city’s nine police districts, and the liaisons will receive $20 an hour for up to 15 hours a month. The pay is included in the nearly $1.5 million first-year monitoring team budget, which largely is for team member salary and expenses.

The consent decree was negotiated between the city and U.S. Justice Department and approved by a federal judge last year. The decree was reached after a Justice Department investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custody and the subsequent rioting in the city.

The consent decree calls for significant new restrictions on officers, including limits on when and how they can engage individuals suspected of criminal activity. It orders more training for police on de-escalation tactics and interactions with youths, those with mental illness and protesters, as well as more supervision for officers.

The neighborhood liaisons will be expected to hold meetings with community organizations and leaders, help the monitoring team with larger community forums, and implement community surveys.

“The objective is to learn about the ongoing experience of Baltimoreans with BPD and its officers so that the Monitoring Team may carry out its mission of determining whether BPD and the City are achieving sustainable compliance with the requirements of the Consent Decree,” the draft liaison application says.

The monitoring team is soliciting feedback from the public on the liaison applications until February 16. The applications are due March 16 and selections are expected to be announced by mid-April. The monitoring team will not consider applicants who comment on the application process because they might provide feedback that would favor them and hurt the integrity of the process, the statement said.

The team is expecting to hire one liaison in the Northern, Northeastern and Central districts. The Northwestern, Southern, Southwestern, Southeastern will each receive two liaisons while the Eastern and Western will receive three.

The draft is located at www.bpdmonitor.com/neighborhood-liaisons. Public comments on the draft RFA should be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BPDMonitorRFA.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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