Union: Baltimore City Police in 'Crisis' Due to Officer Shortage
BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City's Police Union is sounding the alarm because they say the department is in crisis due to the fact that it has too few officers.
According to a new report, there are more than 100 fewer Baltimore City PD officers than last year, with the union saying this poses a safety concern as officers are being overworked.
The police union president calls the situation "dire."
"You get in a crisis mode like we're in right now with crime out of control and not enough uniformed officers on the street," said Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police. "I would say it's at a crisis point."
Police would not comment, but plan to the address the union's blunt criticism on Friday.
In an interview last week, the commissioner struck an optimistic tone.
"We have a hyper focus in 2017 to get us to a better place come this time next year," said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Some believe specialized units may be the problem.
"The rank and file believe that all these specialized units that have been created under this commissioner is what's depleting patrol," said Lt. Ryan.
WJZ's Mike Hellgren found that there are 2,528 sworn officers, with 999 assigned to neighborhood patrols.
In the past year, the total number of officers is down 118, with 103 fewer officers on neighborhood beats.
"You don't have enough police officers to patrol the streets safely protecting themselves, much less protecting the citizens of Baltimore," said Lt. Ryan.
Baltimore ended last year with the second highest number of murders per capita in the city's history.
Daphne Alston co-founded Mothers of Murdered sons after the killing of her own son.
"Nobody has the right to take each other's life," said Alston.
She believes the problem goes beyond fewer cops.
"I don't think it's the numbers we need to be focusing on. We need to be focusing on the quality of policing," said Alston. "What we're seeing now is the bomb that has exploded. it's been building up for a long, long time...We have got to change the focus of our children and our family situations. it's not a police problem."
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