Monday, September 4, 2023

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

The Baltimore Banner, Baltimore police issued 50 citations over the last 2 months. Only 3 made it to court. "Officers need more training, better supervision on how to write tickets, acting police commissioner says."

A major initiative of State’s Attorney Ivan Bates to restart police enforcement of so-called “quality-of-life” crimes has gotten off to a rocky start, with officers writing few tickets and the vast majority of those that are written getting preemptively tossed without the defendant ever being notified.

In the first two months since the Baltimore Police Department told its officers to resume citing low-level offenses — such as loitering, drinking alcohol or urinating in public — they’ve issued 50 citations, acting Police Commissioner Rich Worley told the public safety committee of Baltimore City Council on Wednesday afternoon.

But, Worley emphasized, “I’m not disappointed in that.”

And yet there are major issues with how officers are writing the citations, as evidenced by the fact that 47 of the 50 tickets mentioned by Worley were flagged by an internal police department review as inadequate and never made it to the court docket. Worley said those errors would need to be addressed through a combination of fixes to department technology, more officer training and better supervision.

The idea is to have the “most effective, least intrusive” interaction with someone committing a low-level crime, Worley said. That means emphasizing verbal warnings over citations and using arrests as a last resort.

“I’m not happy that only three [citations] made it out of the department, but I am happy that the 47 bad ones got caught,” Worley told City Council. “Because it shows that we’re policing ourselves.”

I know you're out of practice, but a 94% failure rate. Way to go! 

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