BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore’s mayor and city police commissioner unveiled their plan designed to help cut down on the number of incidents of police brutality and misconduct.
Derek Valcourt explains it’s all about trying to restore public confidence and trust in the department.
It’s trust that has been eroded after a series of high-profile incidents of officers using excessive force.
The department says it’s already made major changes and a new 41 page report provides the road map for future improvements.
A Baltimore Sun investigation detailed dozens of cases where the city paid out millions to settle allegations of police brutality.
The Department of Justice now called to investigate the department after incidents like this where a police officer caught on camera punching a man near a bus stop.
“It’s unacceptable. It will not be tolerated within this organization,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Tuesday morning, Commissioner Batts released the new report with what he calls hard-hitting recommendations designed to reform the department’s internal disciplinary procedures.
“You will see the baton I took from previous commissioners who made strides to address major concerns within this department,” Batts said. “This isn’t fluff. This isn’t child’s play. This is not toying around. These are hard-hitting recommendations we’ve been working on with a road map to the future.”
The plan calls for changes to the Internal Affairs division, including increasing staffing by at least 12 detectives. And it calls for the commissioner to have more influence in determining the punishment of officers once they’ve been found guilty in a disciplinary hearing.
“If they find someone, for lack of a better term, innocent of that misconduct, I cannot touch that. If I’m going to turn around an organization, I have to have accountability for all conduct. I have to have accountability for all discipline within the organization,” Batts said.
The report also recommends convening a panel to study putting body cameras on all officers, an idea already before the City Council.
“I can announce today that my administration is already in the final stages regarding the body camera recommendations and I will be announcing members of the panel in the coming weeks,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The report says the department has made major improvements in disciplining officers.
In 2012, only 57 percent of officers who had a disciplinary hearing for misconduct were found guilty. So far this year 89 percent facing these hearings have been convicted.
The department also finds the number of citizens’ complaints to Internal Affairs about police is trending down in the last four years.
The report also calls for more police transparency through the media relations office on incidents involving police use of force.
Other Local News:
[display-posts category=”local” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]