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Baltimore Police Department Introduces 2 Top Level Hires; Hopes To Boost Professionalism

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Two high-profile outsiders are hired by the city police to help change the culture and root out corruption.

As Mike Schuh reports, because they don’t know how it’s always been done in Baltimore, there is hope things will now be done differently.

The commissioner’s two newest employees are civilians from outside the department. Input on their hiring came from outside the department and that’s no coincidence.

They’re here for their expertise and for the credibility they bring to a police department– battered by a towing scandal, alleging kickbacks to 30 officers.

Fresh from the DEA and Homeland Security, Grayling Williams offers this assessment of corruption at Baltimore Police Department.

“Is Baltimore more or worse? No. Baltimore is a big city department with big city issues,” said Williams, new Chief of Internal Investigations.

The commissioner wants more officers like Williams. When Williams was 11, one night changed his life. In the middle of the night, a cop fixed a broken pipe flooding their home in the projects.

“And I would argue that is the job of the police, the job of the police is to serve the community,” he said.

Now, let’s turn to the friendly fire shooting at the Select Lounge where an undercover city police officer was shot dead.

An independent review points to inadequate training, and that’s one of the reason’s John King was hired.

“As an outsider looking at it, we want to emphasize not just a standalone cultural awareness or community policing class, but integrate four tenants in every class we teach: integrity, leadership, community policing and cultural awareness,” said King, new Director of Education and Training.

In essence, the commissioner is hiring credibility. For the internal affairs position, the two finalists are equal, but he perceives that the outsider brings more credibility with the community.

“We know we have, in some areas, with some communities, with some officers, an estranged broken relationship,” said Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld.

The department also hopes to mend relationships by seeking national accreditation, rewriting all of its rules known as “general orders,” including how police shootings are reviewed and use of force complaints are handled.

Some changes will happen quickly, while others will take years to implement.

The accreditation they seek has been earned by more than 700 government agencies nationwide.

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