Law enforcement leaders in Baltimore and across the U.S. have long focused on community policing. City commanders now are looking to deepen relationships by requiring officers to spend at least one half-hour during each 10-hour shift on foot, talking to residents and business owners, the Baltimore Sun reports. “We’re pushing every police officer to get out of their cars for 30 minutes no matter if it’s in a residential area, commercial area, to engage in the community,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
The push comes amid heightened tensions between police and communities nationwide, fueled by a series of high-profile incidents in which officers have killed unarmed black men. Baltimore commanders view the new rule as a step toward improving relations. Batts believes lengthening workdays from eight hours to 10 hours, which is an initiative begun in January to cut down on overtime and allow commanders to deploy officers where needed, will give officers the time between emergency calls and police reports to get out of patrol cars and observe and interact. Police union President Gene Ryan said high call volumes currently are making the requirement a challenge. Still, he said, he supports the standing order.