Keep in mind this is coming from a local FOP chapter that misspelled my name on my membership card...
It's actually rare I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with police unions. (See, for instance, here and here and here.) But this isn't the first time I've been impressed with the minds and writing ability of Baltimore's FOP Lodge 3.
I'm not going to summarize their report. (If you care enough, just read it.) Overall, it's a very damning report of poor police leadership and a police organization that let down both its workers and the citizens of Baltimore. But I will say this: if you instinctively don't believe anything coming from a police officers' union, just pretend the report was written by the local chapter of the ACLU or something. You'd be surprised how much of this report can pass that test.
Here's what the Sun has to say [I've added selective bolding]:
The FOP has had a legacy of tension with Mayor Rawlings-Blake.... It is in that sense not necessarily the ideal entity to take on the task of analyzing how she and her police commissioner, Anthony Batts, handled an event that left many officers literally and figuratively wounded. The mayor pounced on that history to discredit the report as "a trumped up political document full of baseless allegations, finger pointing and personal attacks." (Speaking of personal attacks, the statement accuses the FOP of "choosing to be their lesser selves.") But the assertions the union makes about what instructions officers were given and how they were trained and equipped are too specific and detailed to be dismissed so easily.And this (keep in mind this is from the Sun and not the FOP):
The FOP's report is based on interviews with police who were on the front lines, focus groups and surveys.... But it is rich for the mayor's spokesman to tut-tut that "the FOP continues to issue baseless and false information instead of working with us to find solutions that will protect our officers." The FOP filed a Public Information Act request for reams of information that could have shed some objective light on the situation — tapes of radio transmissions, emails, text messages and the like — but the city has handed over very little of it.Oh.... did I hear the Sun just go "snap"?
This report has its limitations and biases, but more than two months after the fact, it's the only report we've got. Neither the police nor the mayor's administration have issued anything like a comprehensive assessment of what happened on those nights of violence, and a third-party review by the Police Executive Research Forum is only slated to begin today. If what the FOP reported is wrong, Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Commissioner Batts need to prove it.
But seriously, bad leadership has consequences. There are problems with the whole Rawlings-Blake administration. She is not up to the job of running Baltimore.
It's also worth reading this Baltimore Sun editorial in its entirety. (Note the story of the stolen bike and the closed station. In covering all these events, kudos to the Sun and their soon-to-be Pulitzer-winning ace reporters for living up to the paper's "Light For All" motto.)
[Update: I just learned the FOP report was put together by a consultant firm. That makes sense. Still though, kudos to the FOP for knowing their limitations and not trying to do it in-house.]