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Baltimore to Implement Two New Community Policing Programs

The Baltimore Police Department is taking two positive steps at improving community relations. They have just received a $1 million grant to outfit each district office with permanent, full-time social service professionals to assist troubled teens before intervention is needed by police, detention or foster-care. The program will be up and running by December, and is modeled after a similar program in Boston. Services will address such issues as parent-child conflicts, mental health and substance abuse issues, and education. Secondly, Baltimore is developing a powerful computer base that will monitor performance of the city’s officers in areas such as arrests, car stops, and citizen complaints, and will then identify those officers that might be at risk of unlawful behavior. Police officials hope that the database will change the culture of the Department by identifying problem officers who may benefit from counseling before they commit serious offenses like domestic violence or excessive force against a citizen. Monitoring citizen complaints is nothing new, but Baltimore’s system is the most sophisticated to be proposed for a metropolitan area. It integrates many of the Department’s databases, and preliminary tests show that it will be highly effective for red-flagging potentially dangerous officers.

Sources:

Baltimore Sun, 09/25/02; 10/10/02