A) Here's how they describe the rule book, policies, or the book of General Orders I've already tried to describe. To say G.O.'s doesn't follow "best practices" (pdf link) is an understatement:
We found systemic problems with BPD’s method of drafting, distributing, and implementing policies that has made it difficult for officers to understand proper procedures and adapt to changing rules.This led the criminal prosecution (and acquittal) of officers.
And there's this (I know you might want to skim over this eye-numbing paragraph, but really read it to let it sink in):
The Department has historically developed and published policies and amendments in a manner that officers find to be confusing and opaque. As many officers told us, the numbering system alone is a source of confusion. Generally, BPD policies have been organized with titles that included letters and numbers. During one period, however, the letter-and-number system was replaced with a system that included numbers alone. The new system only applied to newly implemented policies, however, and the majority of policies were still classified by letter-and-number. Policies from different eras are written in different formats, and often modified by annexes, memoranda, amendments, and rescissions, instead of replacing the old policy completely, making it difficult for officers to be confident that they had the current, complete policy.And this:
While the policy manual has a table of contents [ed note: with no friggin page numbers; there are no page numbers! (Stab self in eye)], there is no index, and new additions and revisions can quickly make older manuals difficult to navigate. In fact, during our investigation, BPD was unable to locate one of its own amendments to disclose to us.And of course there's a lack of any input from the rank and file:
BPD likewise fails to provide officers the opportunity to provide input on the policy as it is developed. We spoke with many officers, including supervisors and others in positions of authority, who were frustrated by the lack of input they were able to have on policy development, including the policies developed in 2016. With nearly 3,000 sworn officers and another 1,000 personnel, BPD will likely receive conflicting input in addition to the helpful ideas generated if it seeks input from officers. Without seeking this input, however, BPD fails to learn critical lessons from the field, and, as importantly, it risks alienating its officers and undermining adherence to the policies it develops.B) And then there's training:
Indeed, BPD’s former director of the Training Academy released a needs assessment in 2015 that highlighted an “internal culture of placing training second,” “expectations for ‘rushed’ training,” and “outside pressure to condense training programs” as threats to the current program. See Baltimore Police Department Training Academy Needs Assessment (July 2015), at 5. Unfortunately, after the training director sent the needs assessment to BPD leadership, he did not receive a response for months. He also organized three different meetings with patrol commanders to begin making changes based on the needs assessment, but no commanders attended the meetings.And consider this about the BPD academy:
Officers who had furthered their training did so because of their own personal interest or ambition, often using private funds and overcoming obstacles posed by supervisors or work schedules. Rather than encouraging additional training, supervisors view training as a peripheral activity that is consistently superseded by the need to keep officers on the street.
The program lost about two-thirds of its staff over the past three years: training staff fell from approximately 60 in 2013 to 20 currently. During the course of our investigation, thirty classes had no primary instructor. Multiple training units, including the ones responsible for supervisor training for new sergeants and lieutenants, were entirely vacant with no personnel staffing them.You'd think the DOJ might have mentioned that a trainee was shot in the academy. I mean, it really doesn't get worse than that. At the time the academy was on its seventh head of training in the last 19 months.
The Fraternal Order of Police has also highlighted this concern, noting that class sizes for new recruit training have averaged 35–50 officers.
BPD training facilities are in a similarly troubling state. During the course of our investigation, we were informed that BPD has only 17 computers available to train its nearly 4,000 personnel. The buildings themselves are in disrepair: water cannot be consumed from the faucets, and the buildings often lack workable air conditioning and heating. According to the Academy’s recent needs assessment:
"The decrepit state of the academy itself gives the impression of a lackadaisical and uncommitted attitude towards the necessities of training the modern police officer. Recruits, sworn personnel, visiting law-enforcement experts, and civilians get the impression that they are party to a fly-by-night, poverty-stricken department when they find themselves in a crumbling, drafty building."
[Ed Note: And this is the "new" academy! No different in the "old" academy I attended on Guilford St. But at least in the old days we could drink the water.]
[to be continued in posts 2 and 3]