Baltimore’s police union is calling for an overhaul of the department, describing the agency’s management strategy as “outdated, ineffective and reactive” and proposing changes that it said would boost officer morale and reduce crime across the city, according to the city’s Sun. The report comes as the city seeks a replacement for Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who oversaw steep declines in gun crime after taking over in mid-2007. Robert F. Cherry, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the union wants the report to serve as a blueprint for improvements by the department’s next management team.
For example, he said, the city’s focus on violent crime can come at the expense of other types that affect far more residents, such as burglaries. Among the union proposals is a recommendation that more officers be directed into patrol units, which respond to 911 calls. Patrol officers “have the opportunity to build relationships in the community, conduct ongoing investigations, and employ more strategic policing overall,” the report said. “This is where true reduction in crime will come from.” The recommendations cover issues of pay, benefits and recruiting that Cherry said are crucial to lifting a “crisis of morale” within the Police Department and curbing corruption. Most would not require increased spending, he said.