Technical Assistance for the Baltimore (Maryland) Police Department Implementation of Consent Decree Remedial Measures

Project Summary

On April 7, 2017, the United States, the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, and the Baltimore (Maryland) Police Department (BPD) entered into a consent decree to resolve the findings of a civil rights investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into the practices of BPD. The BPD continues to work toward the measures outlined in the consent decree and toward reforming policing in Baltimore to increase community trust and police legitimacy and to reduce violent crime in the city.

To support the efforts of the City of Baltimore and the BPD in implementation of the consent decree, through funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Police Foundation (NPF) currently serves as a Technical Advisor to BPD. NPF is providing subject matter expertise and other support to BPD on a broad array of reforms the department is currently undertaking. The NPF team has supported BPD in completing a Technology Resource Study and a Staffing Study, and supported BPD’s development of a Community Policing Plan. Currently, NPF is assisting BPD with implementation and evaluation of “Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC)” training, a peer intervention program.

 

Methodology 

NPF staff works in partnership with subject matter experts to address key areas identified for BPD Technical Assistance for Consent Decree Compliance. In collaboration with BPD, NPF develops unique strategies tailored to Baltimore and to the requested compliance area. Generally, the technical assistance includes:

  • gathering relevant information on-site to include interviews and focus groups with BPD staff members, the Baltimore community, and stakeholders;
  • direct observation of BPD practices and needs; and, development of surveys to identify additional needs and perceptions;
  • gathering information off-site through materials requests, follow-up interviews, and open source research;
  • selecting teams of subject matter experts with relevant knowledge to analyze department information, documentation, materials, and data to assess existing strengths and needs going forward, particularly in comparison to national promising practices; and,
  • developing reports and other products—as requested by BPD—that compile, organize, and describe BPD strengths and needs in the assessment areas, as well as strategies and plans for moving the department toward full compliance.

For the EPIC Evaluation, NPF has:

  • Created a logic model for active bystandership (AB) training that includes inputs, outputs, and metrics for assessing success of the training using administrative data
  • Designed a rigorous evaluation plan that includes a field randomized controlled trial of AB training
  • Implemented the field experiment in BPD
  • Designed and programed survey instrumentation for officer surveys
  • Ongoing data collection has already received over 900 survey responses

 

Implications

General implications for the technical assistance provided by the NPF include:

  • More timely completion of consent decree requirements
  • Access to national best practices, promising practices and subject matter experts
  • More equitable and professional policing in the City of Baltimore

Currently, NPF is conducting a multimethod evaluation of AB training in BPD. The EPIC training aims to empower officers to intervene with peers when they recognize problematic or risky behavior. This direct intervention has the goal of reducing officer complaints, improving police-community relations, and improving the health, wellness, and safety of officers. AB training is being adopted by numerous law enforcement agencies across the country. Rigorous evaluation is timely and necessary to ensure that this training has the desired effects on officer behavior for agencies implementing programs across the nation.

 

Publications 

 

Project Websites

https://www.baltimorepolice.org/transparency/consentdecreebasics

https://epic.baltimorepolice.org/epic

 

Funding & Collaboration

This project is being funded by the Ford Foundation.

 

Points of Contact

Jennifer Zeunik
Director of Local Programs
(202) 833-1460
Jzeunik@policefoundation.org
(202) 833-1460

 

Keywords

technical assistance; consent decree; compliance; staffing; technology; resource assessment; community policing; focus groups; community engagement