Baltimore Police Use of Force Plan Called Cultural Shift

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Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced new rules governing police use of force in the city, reports WBAL. “The revised policies, which include feedback from the officers and members of the public, emphasizes using force only when necessary, reasonable, and proportional,” Harrison said. He called the change a major cultural shift focusing on deescalation and using force appropriate to the situation. The policies went into effect on Sunday and cover 11 different areas, including de-escalation techniques and pursuits.

“In my opinion and based on my experiences, these policies will go a long way towards us rebuilding the relationship with our community and for that reason, their importance cannot be overstated,” Harrison said. Officers have completed 16 hours of training, which will continue in 2020. “It’s a culture shift to slow down and create distance to make sure that we’re all safe, members of the community and police, in resolving conflicts and encounters we might have,” Harrison said. The police department worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and the consent decree monitoring team on the plan. The reforms are part of meeting the decree’s demands. “With the revised force of policy now live, accountability measures and outcome assessments will be implemented to gauge the policy’s success,” Harrison said.

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