National Police Foundation
In April 2017, the City of Baltimore and Baltimore PD entered into a consent decree. One of the primary goals of the consent decree is to improve police-community relations, and requires that the BPD develop a community engagement plan to promote positive interactions between the police and the community. In order to achieve this goal, the National Police Foundation facilitated a series of focus groups focused on community policing and gaining input from BPD personnel as the Department develops their community policing strategy. Question 1 asked, “What challenges prevent BPD from engaging in community policing today?” When participants were asked to vote on the biggest challenges preventing the BPD from engaging in community policing, “lack of support” received the highest number of votes, followed by “staffing.” Question 2 asked, “What should the BPD community policing strategies include (activities, philosophies, etc.)?” Staffing received the highest number of votes, followed by community engagement. The research team observed three notable things during the focus groups: BPD members were actively engaged and exhibited a desire to improve the department’s community policing efforts, despite being skeptical of tangible results; some BPD members did not exhibit a clear understanding or common definition of the principles of community policing or engagement; and many participants exhibited and described physical and emotional responses to current working conditions, including showing notable levels of fatigue and low morale.
National Police Foundation. (2019). Community policing in Baltimore: Perspectives from Baltimore Police Department personnel. https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/community-policing-in-baltimore-perspectives-from-baltimore-police-department-personnel/