The Baltimore police commissioner’s newly-unveiled plan to reduce crime and make the department more efficient is bound to fail, a group representing local cops warned Tuesday, arguing there “are not enough officers to even respond to the number of calls to 911.”
The comments from Sgt. Mike Mancuso of the Fraternal Order of Police’s Baltimore City Lodge #3 come weeks after Commissioner Michael Harrison announced his vision for a five-year overhaul of the city’s police department.
The 25-page plan sets “a new performance goal of a 10 minute response time for responding to emergency calls for service” and asks officers on patrol to spend a third of every hour on “community engagement activity” and other “proactive efforts” that Harrison believes can reduce crime.
“We will continuously evaluate this metric over the next year to ensure that it is in line with national best practices and remains an attainable goal for Baltimore given its density, geography, and our personnel staffing,” the plan reads. It also says the department will seek feedback from communities “to create micro-community policing plans that are tailored to their needs,” among other requests.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, center, and Capt. Donald Diehl look on as the department makes public portions of footage from the body camera worn by Sgt. Billy Shiflett, who recently was shot while responding to an active shooter call at Baltimore addiction clinic. (AP)
But Mancuso said the plan, in its current form, is “untenable” as it ignores the city's shortage of police officers.
“The current deployment of Patrol Officers will not be able to, under any circumstances, implement the new crime plan as intended,” Mancuso said in the statement, noting that the department is “500 Police Officers short of the number required for effectiveness."
He added: “As it stands now, there are not enough Officers to even respond to the number of calls to 911, not to mention the addition of micro-zones, community engagement, and proactive policing."
Harrison, when he announced the plan in mid-June, did not reveal what the department’s average response time is, other than claiming it has been “extremely fast”, the Baltimore Sun reported. The department had about 2,500 officers as of a 2017 tally.
Mancuso, in his statement, also blasted recent comments that Harrison made last week in an interview with WBAL-TV, in which Harrison said, "it is not the correct narrative that when you come into Baltimore, your life is in danger or you are somehow not as safe.”
“As a 30-year active veteran of the Baltimore Police Department… I want the public, both citizens and visitors, to know that the current public safety situation in Baltimore is precarious, despite the Commissioner’s unfortunate attempt to appease you,” Mancuso said. “Baltimore is a dangerous city and the utmost care and caution should be taken as you go about your daily tasks.”
The city of Baltimore has been in the national spotlight over the past week as President Trump has been locked in a feud with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., whose district he has called a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
“Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” the president wrote in one tweet.