“Baltimore is a partnership between city and citizen. Nowhere is that partnership more critical than in improving the public safety and security of our communities.
People throughout our City are willing to give their leaders a chance based on action, not rhetoric. Stopping and preventing violent crime cannot be a matter for academic or political debate; it can and must be done now.”
– Former Mayor Sheila Dixon
Management Accountability & Execution
How did we reduce crime during my first tenure as Mayor? Many people will focus on the plan, but what drove crime down was management accountability and execution. As Mayor, I identified the right people, placed them in the right seats, and gave them the proper tools to produce the results that saved lives and restored order in our communities. In order for us to return to those historic low crime numbers, everybody from myself to the employee on the front-line must be held accountable for making crime reduction priority number one. I will assure the residents of our city that the police department will have strong leaders, who follow effective organizational management principles, and directly communicate our crime fighting priorities to the police officers under their supervision, so that they know what their role is in our violence reduction strategy.
Officers – every single one – must understand the core elements of their work that contribute to making the city safer. Many of our city’s hard-working law enforcement officers already have established relationships in the communities where violence occurs, conducting door-to-door safety campaigns and home visits of suspects and potential victims. Police officers on the ground will understand the core elements of their work that help them prevent crimes before they happen, utilizing smart phone and mobile technology to provide them with real-time updates on violent offenders. We must truly understand the complete picture each offender represents. Prosecutors can work with community and law enforcement to identify priority prosecutions that will have the biggest impact on helping communities. We must de-emphasize arrest as a primary means to resolving non-violent crime. We can make fewer arrests and enable prosecutors and the system as a whole to work better, addressing problems with nuance and with the support of the community, by de-emphasizing arrest as a primary means to resolving non-violent crime. We can make fewer arrests and enable prosecutors and the system work better by, addressing problems with nuance, de-emphasizing arrest as a primary means to resolving non-violent crime, and with the support of the community. We must leverage the resources of state and federal agencies to help city agencies fight crime in Baltimore. When the Baltimore Police, State Police and Federal law enforcement agencies share information and coordinate tactics and priorities, we can make the most our resources and ensure that the worst criminals get the most attention. By utilizing every resource possible, we can learn from crime fighting efforts of the FBI and local police departments around the country, bringing the most innovative tactics to Baltimore. By working with the federal prosecutors and the State’s Attorney, we must pursue the toughest sentences against our most violent offenders, seeking harsher penalties and longer sentences. All of this can be done consistently and persistently so that we can stop responding only to the latest fatality and begin to proactively refine our system.
Promotional Procedure Policy – A reoccurring theme that is often bought up about our police department is that there is a lack of leadership in the organization. When an organization fails to provide its members with the requisite knowledge and experience they need to be effective managers, that directly correlates with the service that our citizens receive. In order to assure that we have the right people, with the appropriate experience, who are prepared to lead within our police department I will work to change the length of time that a police officer has to remain in that position before taking the Sergeants test.
Currently, a police officer can be promoted to Sergeant with 3 years of service on the job. With that amount of time, most police officers are still learning the job, and are not adequately prepared to supervise other police officers. As Mayor, I will extend the required time from 3 years to 5 years from the date of academy graduation. This will give aspiring managers the appropriate amount of time to learn the job, and develop the capacity to be more effective leaders.
Supervisory Training – The Baltimore Police Department has never had a a formalized training program specifically designed for newly promoted supervisors that includes mandatory training classes yearly. This lack of investment in the people who we have promoted to manage assets such as our communities, personnel, budget, fleet, facilities, and equipment shows when policy and system failures occur.
In recognizing this as a direct link to our ability to properly police neighborhoods across the city. I will see to it that the Police Commissioner develops and implements a First- Line Supervisor Training Program that includes interactive and scenario-based problem solving exercises that focus on the fundamental skills required of all first-line supervisors. I will also see to it that we institute supervisors in-service training annually. This management-level in-service training will include content that is mandated by the Maryland Police Training Commission, Consent Decree information, and continuing education training on supervisory and management techniques.
- District Action Plans – To build trust and collaboration between the community and police both sides have to come to the table to establish community priorities. Every January, each police District Commander will be responsible for developing a District Action Plan in collaboration with members from the District Community Relations Council, along with residents and business owners. This action plan will focus on the top crime issues affecting each sector within the district as supported by statistical data, officer observations and community complaints. Once these action plans have been drafted, the District Commander and their management team will be responsible for developing strategies that focus on those issues in an effort to reduce crime. District Commander’s will be held accountable for working with internal and external partners to solve community based crime problems.
- CompStat – The most critical element of the crime-fighting strategy is our Comparative Statistics program. This serves as an organizational management tool to identify and measure crime, and appropriately deploy resources to those areas affected by spikes in crime. The Police Commissioner and that individual’s senior leadership team will host weekly CompStat crime strategy meetings. In these meetings police department District Commander’s and their management teams will present problems that they are facing and give updates on recent incidents within their geographical area. District Commander’s will also be responsible for providing information on the progress they are making to address the issues in their District Action Plans.
- CitiStat – When used properly, this performance management tool is effective aiding in crime fighting by linking citizen service request to agency metrics. This will ensure that neighborhood concerns are addressed in a timely fashion. As Mayor, we will return to regular CitiStat meetings where we will identify sanitation, housing, transportation and other social needs that may be contributing to crime. In addition to, developing a coordinated approach to resolve those problems.
Intelligence Led Policing
As Mayor, I developed and implemented strategies that led to a reduction of homicides to the lowest they had been in 30 years. These strategies also contributed to a 14% drop in fatal and non-fatal shootings, and a reduction in gun crimes and robberies. The strategy that we used to record these record lows is called the Focused Deterrence Model. This crime reduction strategy aims to deter swiftness and severity of punishment for crimes by implementing a mix of law enforcement, social services, and community mobilization to reduce violence. My administration will focus primarily on the identification of the most violent offenders in our communities and create pathways for them to leave their life of crime, or deal with the consequences of their actions.
- Apprehending Gun Offenders – The number one threat to the citizens of Baltimore City are individuals who walk our streets possessing illegal firearms. As Mayor, I led the charge to reduce violence in our city by introducing and implementing the Gun Offender Registry. This program not only monitored individuals who have been convicted of possessing an illegal firearm it also allowed us to connect them with the appropriate resources to help change their lives. Under my leadership, we will rigorously identify, investigate and arrest those individuals who attempt to terrorize and harm our communities through the use of illegal firearms.
- Violent Crime Analysis and Apprehension Program – Approximately one-third or less of homicides and other violent crimes go unsolved each year in the City of Baltimore. This sends a clear message to criminals that they will not be held accountable for their actions. For that reason, I will establish an analysis and apprehension program within the homicide unit that will be responsible for supporting investigators by tracking and correlating information on murder cases. This effort will be supported through a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to make sure that we have database connectivity to utilize their ViCAP program which provides real time information cases.
- Baltimore Metropolitan Intelligence Center – This innovative idea was implemented in Philadelphia with the creation of the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center. In Philadelphia, this regional ‘fusion center’ is staffed with personnel from local, state, and federal agencies along with representatives from the private sector to monitor and coordinate everything from street-level intelligence to homeland security threats.The City of Baltimore is the hub of our region. With the surplus of unoccupied buildings that we have it would be ideal for us to partner with our neighbors throughout the region to advocate for a facility where all of our stakeholders can constantly work together to fight crime and ensure the safety of our citizens.
- Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee – As Mayor, I helped coordinate the monthly meetings of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which is the nuts and bolts of Baltimore’s criminal justice system. This consortium of political leaders, judges, law enforcement officials, as well as city and state agencies were tasked with reducing crime and managing the day-to-day operations to include, elements of our court system, surrounding detention facilities and diversion and treatment programs. It included representatives from the Department of Parole and Probation, the States Attorneys’ Office, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Corrections, Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Public Defender’s Office, the Circuit Court Clerk and other local leaders. While the CJCC was stripped of its funding in 2017 under the past administration, as Mayor, I will commit to reviving those efforts. This will be accomplished through coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, ensuring that these members, along with community and business leaders, are brought together monthly to study the juvenile and criminal justice systems of Baltimore City to identify any deficiencies that may exist and formulate policies and procedures to help improve our system.
- Technology – Advances in technology have played a critical role in aiding our police department to address crime and violence in our city. Technology is a tool and not a replacement for preventive patrols and complex criminal investigations. I will continue to support the Shot Spotter technology that could be a more effective tool in apprehending illegal gun offenders with the appropriate deployment of patrol officers in our communities. I will also ensure that all of our CCTV cameras are operational to assist our police officers in preventing crime. As Mayor, I will evaluate programs such as Predictive Policing Software and the controversial Surveillance Plane to see if there is a return on investment from the use of these tools.
Addressing Community Fears
On day one of my administration, the Baltimore Police Department will build on the foundation that it has created through their community-based policing philosophy and transition to the practice of relationship based policing. We have missed the mark on building meaningful relationships in the neighborhoods that we serve using the community-policing model. This model is generally effective when implemented in established communities where there is not a divide between the citizens and police. In order to establish trust between both sides, the relationship based policing model that we will adopt will allow both sides to form a collaborative relationship with one another and learn to work together to solve community problems.
- Increase Patrol Presence – As a result of the Consent Decree, two staffing studies have been conducted. The study performed by the Police Foundation revealed that there are currently 2,526 sworn police officers and supervisors working in the police department. This study recommended that the Baltimore Police Department should have a minimum of 1,100 full-duty, uniformed, police officers and supervisors available to respond to 911 calls. According to media reports, Baltimore City Council oversight hearings, and the report published by the Fraternal Order of Police, we know that the police department is currently operating with approximately 650 full-duty police officers assigned to police patrol. As Mayor, I will commit to immediately increasing these numbers on day one by, disbanding all plainclothes district operations units, and miscellaneous task force reassigning those officers back to patrol duties.Specialized units will only be operational after we have fulfilled our minimum staffing requirements. Our first and most important responsibility is to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods for our residents. This will be done by deploying the appropriate number of officers to the streets to provide a visible presence in the community to respond to citizen calls for service.
- Neighborhood Coordinating Officers – There is a paradigm shift occurring within local policing across the country where patrol operations are returning to the forefront of what officers are being asked to do. Building off of the Increase Patrol Presence practice that we will be implementing, the Neighborhood Coordinating Officer program will shift how we operate and engage the community. This program has been credited with helping to reduce crime in Los Angeles and New York City, while building collaborative relationships with citizens.When implemented, each police district will have two sworn police officers permanently assigned to each police patrol sector. These officers will serve as the liaison between police department and the neighborhoods within that geographic area. These officers will be responsible for engaging members of the community, responding to non-emergency community problems that may be a driver of neighbor crime, and providing continued support for patrol officers and community members by providing constant follow-up to mitigate the occurrence of future problems.
- Network Patrols – The Baltimore Police Department has about 500 less police officers today than it did when I was Mayor. We continue to lose officers faster than we can hire them. Because of this, we must utilize innovative ways to supplement the police presence caused by the shortage of officers. I will work with our partner institutions that have police agencies, private businesses and communities that contract security services to aid in our efforts to provide a safety presence in the areas where they operate. The leadership from these entities would be invited in to take part in our data and intelligence briefings in order to better share information and allocate resources to reduce crime.Decentralization of Investigative Units – During my administration, when crime reached historic lows the detectives who investigated shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies and burglaries were all assigned to police districts. This organizational structure provided investigators with the opportunity to work directly with community members which enhanced information sharing and secured the closure of more cases. District patrol officers were also able to provide detectives with intelligence on the activity in the neighborhood that may have been a driver of the crime. As Mayor, we will return to this investigative model with a focus on making sure that our detective units are properly staffed and trained.
Rebuilding the Baltimore Police Department
In recent years, the police department has been unable to recruit or retain qualified officers for various reasons. Oftentimes, prospective officers come here because of the quick processing, and then they’re able to get trained and certified with the intention of lateraling to another department. Newly hired candidates are required to stay with the department for a total of two years before they can lateral to another agency without having to pay back the cost of training that the Baltimore Police Department provided. In many cases this policy is not enforced. We will implement the following policies and programs to ensure that we have a fully staffed police department that is able to respond to the needs of the community.
- New Hire Retention Policy – Our police department will strictly enforce this policy and require that officers who do not adhere to the two-year retention period pay the police department back all fees and expenses related to training. The policy will also include a provision that states that the two-year period doesn’t start until the day after graduation from the police academy.
- Vacancy Reduction Strategy – We will implement a four-pronged approach to create a police department that is equipped to respond to the concerns of our communities.
- Retain – Exit surveys from police officers leaving the department highlights poor working conditions, extended work hours with little or no notice, and lack of support from the Police Commissioners administration and elected officials. In order to begin managing crime, we must retain the good officers that we currently have by ensuring that patrol is appropriately staffed, creating an environment that is respectful to our officers and offers work-life balance.
- Re-engage – The Baltimore Police Department has trained and lost hundreds of officers that have lateraled to other agencies or just left the profession completely, we will aggressively develop an engagement strategy that will work to get those individuals back.
- Re-invest – When senior police officers retire more is lost then just a body; 20 years of policing experience walks away with them. We want to provide incentives for those veteran officers to stay with the department. We would like to create part-time contractual positions for retired police officers that are still eligible for certification. These officers will work a minimum of 10 days a month to supplement our full-time workforce and be able to reinvest and transfer knowledge to the next generation of officers.
- Recruit – We need to continue the aggressive recruitment strategy that the police department has recently implemented to attract qualified candidates with a specific focus on Baltimore City residents. This recruitment campaign will be supplemented with a citywide explorer program at the middle and high school levels with the hopes of creating a pipeline of city youth into our Police Cadet Program. We must restore the perception that pursuing careers in law enforcement is a honorable profession and a means to serve the community. It is important that we prioritize recruiting officers that are from the communities that they will patrol and have a contextualized understanding of the city.
- Civilianization Plan – There is currently no sense of urgency within the Mayor’s or Police Commissioner’s administration to implement the civilianization plan. This adds to the lack of police presence within our communities while having sworn police officers performing task that can be done by civilian staff. Transitioning these police officers back to the street could help our local economy by creating possible employment opportunities for Baltimore City residents that could serve in these positions. Under my leadership we will expedite this plan by hiring retired officers in contractual positions, graduates of local colleges and universities, and city residents to fill these positions. We must recruit for these civilian positions with the same level of urgency that we are looking to fill police officer positions.
In order for us to correct the problems that we are facing within our communities we must address the root causes that have contributed to this crisis. Sociological theorist have shown that there are six institutions of social control within society. They are; family, schools, and religion. When those institutions fail to provide the proper structure individuals are introduced to police, courts, and corrections. We must ensure that our families, schools and religious based institutions are serving as anchors within our communities. These institutions are valuable partners in our work to reduce the occurrence of crime and violence in our neighborhoods.
- Home Ownership – One of the most important components to rebuilding the family structure is providing families with a stable and affordable place to live. Home ownership provides people with a sense of investment and responsibility in their community. My administration will aggressively work to provide low and moderate income residents who are currently renting with the opportunity to become home owners. This will be accomplished by supporting current home ownership programs that the city offers, but we will also develop and implement a citywide Community Land Trust model that works to convert vacant or abandoned properties to livable and affordable housing.
- Baltimore City Community Schools – As a former educator I am fully aware of how important education is to the success of our young people. That’s why as Mayor I will support and look to expand the community school model which is a partnership between the Family League of Baltimore and the Baltimore City Public School System. This model has been instrumental in supporting the needs of the whole child and their families, and utilizing the public school facility as a sustainable anchor within our neighborhoods. My administration will fully support the Kirwan commission’s recommendations because that funding will allow us to ensure that the appropriate resources are allocated for health supports, extracurricular activities, access to meals, parent support centers, workforce development, and social and legal support services. Equip every school with in-house health centers and mental health services, as well as mentoring and tutoring services to reduce youth and gang violence.
- Public/Mental Health – We cannot combat crime effectively without acknowledging the corresponding public health crisis, one that demands the scientific rigor of a public health response to identify and eliminate risk factors. We must link to strategies, some outside of this plan, that invest in the potential of our people, so that all of our citizens can enjoy the blessings of a peaceful and prosperous life. Under coordinated leadership within City Hall, dedicated staff will work with the leaders of Police, Fire, Health and Emergency Management to strategically focus resources and build partnerships that:
- Expand the use of hospital emergency departments to counsel and connect trauma victims to services and assistance, using models proven to reduce repeat injuries. There is only one hospital currently providing this critical service, and we must take the program’s successes to replicate and expand them across the city.
- Recognize that violence is ultimately a public health issue and requires investment as far upstream as possible. We must emphasize lead poisoning reduction, mental health for children, home visiting for pregnant women and other methods to ensure the health and safety of our city’s residents. Structure services for substance use disorders and mental illness. These services provide individuals with volunteer and job opportunities that will help them live independently, work, and contribute to our city.
- Partner with local businesses to provide job opportunities to identified at-risk individuals in real time.
- Coordinate the extensive array of volunteer efforts in our community so that we are constantly engaging those that we know are at risk of committing crimes and/or becoming victims of crime. These volunteers can provide music lessons, drug treatment and health care for longstanding conditions. Success will be measured not by the number of people in the system, but by the results for each individual.
- Faith-Based Community Partnerships – The purpose of this initiative is to strengthen the collaborative efforts between Baltimore City government and our faith-based and community organizations. This initiative is extremely important because many of our faith based institutions and their parishioners live in the areas where we experience the highest levels of crime and violence. Not prioritizing a collaborative relationship with these community anchors has been a failure of leadership within our city over the last decade. These organizations are able to provide ground-level support and connect with citizens that may be out of reach for government agencies. So we must provide them with the support they need to bridge the gap between people and social services. My administration will make this a priority by working to secure local, state and federal grants that will support this effort so that we can reclaim our communities.
All of the elements of our government must be configured to assist in the most fundamental element of our human existence, the need to be healthy, safe and secure. We can use the vast network of government services in an integrated fashion to reinforce this commitment to our neighbors. We can ensure that every department head, every division chief, every section supervisor, and every employee of our city government understands that they have a role in making Baltimore safer and our citizens more secure. It’s something we can control, and as a result, we can be assured of the outcome: a healthier, safer, more equitable city for all Baltimoreans.
Sheila Dixon has been widely acknowledged as a strong leader on public safety. When Dixon was mayor, alongside her appointed Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, Baltimore saw the lowest number of killings in 30 years, with many of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods seeing major drops in crime. Fatal and non-fatal shootings dropped 14 percent, and quality of life crimes also declined. Dixon is widely credited with ending the zero- tolerance crime fighting strategy, shifting to a successful community policing strategy that targeted known offenders.
SUPPORT OUR CAMPAIGN
Your donation of $100, $25, or even $10 will help us wage the fight to restore hope to our beloved Baltimore.
SUPPORT OUR CAMPAIGN
Your donation of $100, $25, or even $10 will help us wage the fight to restore hope to our beloved Baltimore.