BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a stinging Department of Justice report that revealed years of systemic discrimination towards African-American citizens from the Baltimore City Police Department, the police union is now speaking out about the change officers want to see.
A long list of suggestions from the Fraternal Order of Police to the Justice Department admitted a cultural change is necessary within Baltimore police, and that would “require long-term, sustained and focused training to offset decades of indoctrination by past failed policies.”
The letter suggested evidence of rogue supervisors. Officers complained they were “given direct orders and pressured to continue practices,” that the D.O.J. said were “problematic and possibly unconstitutional.”
The F.O.P. also told WJZ the department is understaffed and that officers are overworked.
“And if our officers are out there and they can’t safely function themselves, how can they safely and appropriately protect the citizens of Baltimore?” said Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3.
Now, despite the F.O.P.’s recommendations to improve the Baltimore City Police Department, one community advocate says it doesn’t go far enough, saying the F.O.P. should welcome more community input.
“There has to be civilian involvement from every aspect of the training and policy and structural changes that they make. They need to have that type of civilian input,” said Ray Kelly, No Boundaries Coalition.
The F.O.P. says its recommendation will improve morale and performance.
“We’ve got to get back to where this is a profession to be proud of and a career you want to stay in for 25-plus years,” said Ryan.
The Baltimore Police Department told WJZ it welcomes input from individual members of the community or any organization as the final terms of the consent decree are negotiated.
The court ordered consent decree that the department is legally obligated to follow should be complete by November.