Responding to allegations of corruption in a district station, Baltimore’s police commissioner said he is committed to restoring the “internal integrity” of the department and has begun implementing safeguards aimed at keeping officers honest, the Baltimore Sun says. Commissioner Leonard Hamm, speaking publicly for the first time about the arrest and suspension of several officers from the “flex squad” in the Southwestern District, said he has reinstated procedures in use when he left the Police Department in 1996 but were later eliminated. Included: a strenuous screening process, random drug testing, and a three-year rotation policy for officers in special units.
“What happened in the Southwestern District is an embarrassment to us all,” Hamm said at a news conference with Mayor Martin O’Malley. “We need to go back again to best practices. And that’s what we’re going to do to see that this thing doesn’t happen again.” Three officers from the district’s flex squad were indicted on charges that one forced a woman to have sex with him in a station house office while the others did nothing to stop it. An investigation is continuing into misconduct by the flex squad – a team of officers who worked flexible hours and were freed from routine duties in order to target criminals involved in violence and drugs.