The Monitoring Team is making a draft of the First-Year Monitoring Plan available for formal community feedback. We want to hear from as many voices on the draft plan as possible in the coming weeks.
The Baltimore Police Department Monitoring Team has prepared a Draft First-Year Monitoring Plan for structuring and assessing the compliance of the Baltimore Police Department and the City of Baltimore with the court-approved Consent Decree that BPD and the City entered into with the United States Department of Justice in 2017.
The Consent Decree, which is a judicially-enforceable agreement, requires BPD to adopt a comprehensive set of specific reforms designed to promote fair and constitutional policing, rebuild BPD’s relationships with Baltimore’s communities, and ensure public safety. Taken as a whole, the Consent Decree prescribes transformational change for BPD. Achieving transformational change in a large police department does not happen overnight. As the Consent Decree envisions, it takes time, and it requires adherence to a rigorous, methodical reform process. The Monitoring Plan is the blueprint for the first year of that process. It provides a clear, detailed, structured framework for the initial steps that BPD and the City must take toward full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree.
The draft Monitoring Plan is what it purports to be: a draft. Between now and January 29, 2018, the Monitoring Team seeks to obtain the community’s views on the draft. We would like to know whether community members and police officers believe the draft reflects the correct priorities based on the requirements of the Consent Decree and, if not, which Consent Decree requirements ought to be prioritized instead. We would also like to know whether community members and police officers believe the draft provides them a meaningful voice in the reform process laid out in the Consent Decree. Upon receiving and assessing the community’s comments, we will assemble a final proposed plan for the Court’s review and approval.
In correspondence, in informal meetings, and at forums held in November and December 2017 at Mervo High School, Douglass High School, Dunbar High School, and Harford Heights Elementary School, the Monitoring Team already has received the views of certain community members about Consent Decree priorities and community participation in the Consent Decree reform process. We have received similar feedback from BPD officers. These communications confirmed our belief that community members and police officers should have an opportunity to review and comment on a written draft of the Plan, now that one has been prepared, before a final proposed Plan is submitted to the Court.
The public comment period will run for three weeks, from January 8, 2018, through January 29, 2018. Comments can be submitted in one of three ways:
- By completing an online feedback form;
- By visiting the Monitoring Team’s office at 6 Redwood Street in Baltimore and completing the form in person; or
- By mailing a letter to the Monitoring Team at the following address: BPD Monitoring Team; c/o Kenneth Thompson; Venable LLP; 750 East Pratt Street, Suite 900; Baltimore, MD 21202
As the comment form available online indicates, individuals who submit comments should focus on the following questions:
- Does the Monitoring Plan identify the right priorities under the Consent Decree, or should it focus on different Consent Decree requirements?
- Will the timetables in the Monitoring Plan facilitate progress that is fast, real and lasting?
- Does the Monitoring Plan give community members and police officers alike an adequate voice in the reform process? If not, what changes should be made to make sure it does?
The Monitoring Team and the parties will consider the comments received, incorporate the comments into the Monitoring Plan as warranted, and submit a final proposed Monitoring Plan to the Court for review and approval on February 5, 2018.