Baltimore mediation center will work to ensure community engagement with police consent decree

The Baltimore Community Mediation Center, newly appointed to serve on the city’s consent decree monitoring team, said Wednesday it plans to “develop a team of volunteers drawn from various segments of Baltimore’s population to ensure appropriate and authentic community engagement” in the process.

That volunteer panel will be created by the organization’s executive director, Shantay Guy, and will help the center to understand “what engagement looks like for the community and how best to provide that feedback to the monitoring team,” the organization said in a statement.

“Community engagement is one portion of the consent decree mandate, and Baltimore Community Mediation Center is proud to focus on that engagement and provide a channel for meaningful feedback as the monitoring team works on policy and implementation,” the organization said.

The group was a late addition to a team that Baltimore and U.S. Department of Justice officials assembled to monitor the implementation of the consent decree after not one applicant team met all their needs, they said. The 22-year-old mediation center was not part of any applicant team, but had helped facilitate conversations with community members during the selection process.

The team, which was approved by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar this week, is led by monitor Kenneth Thompson, an attorney at the Baltimore-based law firm Venable, and principal deputy monitor Charles Ramsey, a former Philadelphia and District of Columbia police chief who served as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Neither Thompson nor Ramsey have commented publicly on their selection.

The mediation center said it is honored to be a part of the team, and believes “successfully engaging historically under-served and unheard communities will be a critical factor in the overall success of the consent decree initiatives.”

It said it will “engage with both the community and monitoring team using the non-judgmental, confidential and transparent methods, rooted in inclusive and empowering values, that we use every day to help Baltimore residents have difficult conversations.”

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