Plan that could improve policing gone 'ignored'

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - The head of the city's police union says a plan that might have improved policing in Baltimore City has been largely ignored by city leaders.

It's called the "Blueprint for Improved Policing" and it was released in July of last year.

It criticizes the department for "lurching from one crisis to another."

The current crisis -- nearly two dozen people shot, eight of them killed in Baltimore City in just the past three days.

The city's police commissioner, Anthony Batts was out in the neighborhoods where the shootings happened, calling the violence an "unusual spike" that came after several weeks of crime trending down.

And he said the department would respond.

"We are picking our targets we know where they are, and we are in the process of following up on them and being proactive this is a spike we will respond to that spike and we will be very assertive about responding to the spike," he said.

Det. Bob Cherry, president of the of the FOP lodge #3, which represents city police officers, says with more effective management of the department's resources -- there might not have been a spike in the first place.

The Blueprint for Improved Policing calls for a detailed analysis of the deployment of the city's officers, throughout all nine police districts, more efforts to retain officers; right now surrounding jurisdictions have higher pay.  It also calls for a settlement to the on-going pension lawsuit, which remains in federal court and which threatens to cut benefits for some officers.

And the report calls on the city require police recruits to have completed at least a two-year college degree, or have military service.

"I don't think you have to hire 400 or 500 more police. We can get the job done if you raise the standards of those police," Det. Cherry said, adding that better-trained officers would be less likely to wind up suspended -- or worse.  That in turn would put more officers on the streets.

"It's been a year now. And as we just saw this past weekend the citizens of Baltimore can't afford to wait year after year for real answers," Det. Cherry said.

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