By Jessica Albert

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the first time Wednesday, Baltimore City leaders met with the group that produced the final report on the disgraced Gun Trace Task Force. The report came out about two weeks ago and included shocking details about one of Baltimore’s biggest corruption scandals.

That virtual hearing lasted about two and a half hours. They discussed the mistakes made by the Baltimore Police Department and what changes need to be made moving forward.

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The 515-page report detailed a long history of corruption inside the Baltimore Police Department that allowed the crimes committed by the Gun Trace Task Force to happen.

The report includes more than 160 interviews and reviews of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. Every elected mayor from Martin O’Malley through Brandon Scott, and every BPD commissioner from Ed Norris through Michael Harrison was interviewed for the investigation.

“They didn’t fear the consequences,” said Michael Bromwich of Steptoe & Johnson. “There was an accountability system within the department that was viewed as non-threatening.”

Bromwich is a former Department of Justice Inspector General and led the investigation.

The report says members of the department turned a blind eye to some of the illegal activities of the task force because it was netting a high amount of arrests.

“That really is shocking,” Bromwich said. The way they felt they had impunity to abuse people in Baltimore, to violate their constitutional rights and they didn’t really seem to fear until the very end that they had any consequences.”

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During the meeting, Bromwich discussed a number of recommendations that have been made to the police department.

Among its recommendations, the report said the Baltimore Police Department should employ current and former officers to conduct background investigations of new hires, display “zero-tolerance for cheating” to trainees at the academy, incorporate training on the department’s scandals over the last 20 years and deploy more “integrity stings.”

“I think the culture is changing but it’s like turning an ocean liner,” Bromwich said. “It’s very slow and requires patience.”

Bromwich says there is a new training program being implemented in the department that encourages officers to intervene in misconduct.

He also believes the use of body cameras will deter corruption. He says these recommendations should put the department on the right track.

“Make these recommendations things that BPD can now look at and say we can do that,” he said. “It will be hard, it may take some time, but we can do that.”

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Bromwich says that he doesn’t want the public to be discouraged by what’s in the report and that the reforms in place look promising. He stresses that these changes will take time to implement.

Jessica Albert