Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 has repeatedly warned that the Baltimore Police Department is critically understaffed. Baltimore City has recorded 161 homicides so far in 2017 – a record number of homicides ever during the first six months of the year. In reaction to this surge in violence, and in particular the recent six homicides over a 24-hour period, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis cancelled leave and placed our officers on 12-hour tours of duty to stem the violence. This, however, is merely a stopgap measure and not a long term plan of action, a plan to fight crime that the Baltimore Police Department still doesn’t have in place.
The FOP is committed to the safety of our police officers as well as the citizens of Baltimore who we serve. In January of this year, FOP President Gene Ryan warned that the city was at a “tipping point” in fighting violent crime due to the critical understaffing of uniformed officers assigned to patrol the city’s neighborhoods. The police commissioner found those comments to be offensive and the FOP was ignored. As of June 20, 2017, there are an additional twentythree (23) full-time police officers assigned to patrol than there were in January.
Our police officers are repeatedly being drafted and forced to work additional hours to fill the shortage in patrol and patrol shifts are still going out under strength. The citizens of Baltinore deserve better service – every neighborhood should have their fair contingent of uniformed officers assigned to patrol their homes and schools. In turn our officers are fatigued and morale continues to decline. This in turn leads to the continued exodus of some of our best and youngest police officers to other agencies. The Baltimore Police Department cannot hire enough officers to match this attrition and until they admit this, and admit to their own failure in properly managing the agency and crime fight, the city will continue to see a surging crime rate.
In response to this crime crisis and uniform patrol shortage, the FOP will be going out in the community to meet with the neighborhood councils and discuss our mutual concerns. The FOP will request an opportunity to engage the Greater Baltimore Committee and other business leaders to hear how the lack of a crime plan is hurting the economy. Finally, the FOP will reach out to members of the City Council to schedule one on one discussions.
It’s time for action. We cannot sit back and continue to allow a surging crime rate destroy the good work our police officers and law abiding citizens have accompfished in years prior. The FOP looks forward to remaining a partner in this crime fight and telling the truth about what is and what isn’t happening inside the Baltimore Police Department.