After dismantling special operations units, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has reassigned more than 150 police officers and supervisors back onto similar teams, reports the city’s Sun. The 21 new “District Action Teams” began deploying this week amid the city’s violent crime crisis and intense debates about how to best address it. The city marked its 200th homicide on Wednesday, a staggering pace putting Baltimore on track to reach or exceed the historic highs of 344 and 318 homicides in 2015 and 2016, respectively. As of July 15, robberies were up 15 percent and aggravated assaults were up 18 percent. Burglaries were up 7 percent.
The new operations teams will serve in uniform rather than plainclothes like many of their predecessors, and they will report directly to district commanders rather than central command. They will not interact with informants directly or conduct surveillance, but will work with other intelligence and undercover units to target repeat violent offenders and provide commanders with critical response capabilities beyond the scope of patrol units, Davis said.