How Baltimore “War Room” Goes After City’s 238 “Top Trigger Pullers”


The head of Baltimore’s “war room,” Lt. Col. Sean Miller runs down a daily roll call of city police and federal agents, who give updates on phones being tapped, a cache of weapons stolen from a warehouse and a recent shooting on city streets. The conference room on the third floor of police headquarters serves as an all-inclusive intelligence and operations hub. Double-monitor computers sit on desks in the open-space office, with real-time CitiWatch camera footage displayed on flat-screen TVs and a city map of shootings and arrests, reports the Baltimore Sun. Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake created the war room last month as an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to address the biggest spike in city homicides on record

The number of killings hit 200 this week, nearly four months earlier than last year. The initiative brings together a cast of law enforcement that includes police, the mayor’s office, city and federal prosecutors, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Marshals Service. The war room combines intelligence gathering with operations and aims to that ensure that all the players are in sync, Miller said. “Now it’s a collaborative effort where everything is on the table, all the intelligence is shared across the board,” he said. “What used to take weeks or months now is taking days to formulate a plan, operationalize that plan, and put cops on the ground to attack it.” Police have compiled a list of 238 “top trigger pullers,” who police believe are responsible for most shootings in the city. About 25 to 30 “war board targets” are believed to be responsible for a string of retaliatory shootings between two to three groups on the city’s east and west sides. Through efforts in the war room, about half have been arrested, Miller said, bringing that violence “to a screeching halt.”

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