By Rohan Mattu

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In an effort to “become the fairest, most transparent, diverse, and inclusive department possible,” The Baltimore Police Department released what it called its “Strategic Framework for Advancing Equity” Tuesday.

According to Commissioner Michael Harrison, the framework is the department’s commitment to addressing the root causes of social disparities in the department.

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“Nearly every quality of life indicator shows disparities in outcomes by race in Baltimore and across the United States,” said Harrison. “While racial and many other disparities have existed within the BPD in one form or another since its founding, we know that many of these gaps persist today. This Strategic Framework is our commitment to address its root causes and creating the best BPD possible.”

The framework is built around seven commitments to “institutionalize equity” within the department.

  1. Establishing a department-wide understanding of equity and inclusion principles.
  2. Engaging the internal and external communities—especially those most impacted by identified disparities—in the development, implementation, and evaluation of BPD equity initiatives.
  3. Systematically gathering and analyzing disaggregated data from across the agency.
  4. Conducting a systems analysis of root causes of inequities.
  5. Identifying strategies and targeting the human and financial resources to address root causes of inequities.
  6. Conducting equity impact assessments for all policies and decision-making.
  7. Continuously evaluating effectiveness and adapting strategies as a part of the Department’s strategic planning process.

In its announcement, BPD committed to an intersectional approach to equity. The department said the framework is made to address disparities “across dimensions of an individual’s identity,” not only race.

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Mayor Brandon Scott said the framework parallels Baltimore’s own social equity goals.

“Our residents deserve a Baltimore Police Department that reflects the rich diversity of our great city, said Scott. “I applaud Commissioner Harrison and BPD for acknowledging long-standing racial and gender disparities, and committing to a comprehensive plan to advance equity in the department. Their strategic framework perfectly aligns with our federal Consent Decree requirements and the City’s Equity Assessment Program.

“More importantly,” said Scott, “this undertaking will help improve trust and engagement between our brave officers and the neighborhoods they serve.”

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Read the full framework here.