BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Officials with Baltimore Police, the Department of Justice, and the Baltimore Police Department Monitoring Team briefed Judge James Bredar Thursday on the department’s progress through its Consent Decree implementation.

The department has been under federal oversight since 2017.

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The core of rebuilding public trust rests in the department’s efforts to swiftly investigate officer misconduct, Bredar said.

“These police misconduct cases need to move,” Bredar said. “(The State’s Attorney’s Office) should move with the same sense of urgency.”

The BPD Monitoring Team told Bredar a recent visit to BPD’s Public Integrity Bureau showed a “busy place with new technology.” The Monitor said the Bureau is “very selective on who they bring in” and “it’s no longer a place where people get dumped.”

“It’s very, very difficult work—very emotional work,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who worked in a similar unit earlier in his career. “It’s about the number of people, the right people, the right equipment to make sure that we can ask the community to trust us.”

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The judge cited a case last week where a Baltimore Police sergeant and officer were charged with assault and misconduct, but said backlogs in officer misconduct cases are a problem. That case cited took 15 months after the alleged assault to bring charges.

“Problems with (internal affairs) are at the core of what afflicted this police department, culminating in the Gun Trace Task Force,” Bredar said.

The GTTF fallout continues to ripple this week, as settlements to victims surpassed $14 million. The City’s Board of Estimates approved Wednesday another $525,000.

Baltimore Police officials told the judge about a third of the department has completed “Community Policing” training and voluntary “Crisis Intervention Team” training is now available.

Bredar’s opening remarks stated the department is in a “messy” phase of technology rollout with “the straightforward problem of the delay in the delivery of new police cars which, in turn, delays the installation of new computers in those cars.

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“Technology is important so it can bring the department into the 21st Century,” Bredar said. “It is central to what the Court is trying to achieve” so the department can be monitored.

Paul Gessler