Really? It Just Keeps Getting Worse in Baltimore

Baltimore Sun: Dysfunction in Baltimore police homicide unit went unaddressed as killings hit historic levels

With the COVID-19 pandemic and organizational dysfunction in play what are the chances that leadership within the Baltimore Police Department will be able to effectively respond to the pandemic and improve police operations and build trust within the communities of color?

Here’s the latest…

“During Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison’s first week on the job last year, a top aide sent him a short, casual email: ‘For reading whenever you have a chance.’

“Attached was a detailed report — marked ‘NOT FOR DISSEMINATION’ — that in staid language made clear that the city’s homicide unit was highly dysfunctional, ineffective and in need of immediate reform.

“There were too few detectives with too little training, supervision and equipment. And they had more cases than they could handle. Instead of catching killers, they were placing unsolved investigations on the back burner within a matter of weeks, with no effective process for dealing with the cold cases that inevitably piled up.

“The Police Executive Research Forum had produced the taxpayer-funded report in 2016 to help reverse a worrying decline in solved cases.

“But instead of implementing the plans, the Baltimore Police Department mostly sat on them — and kept them from the public — as it churned through three police commissioners and the city racked up another thousand homicides (my emphasis) In the process, the department’s rate of solving cases tumbled even lower, to roughly half the national average for cities of Baltimore’s size.” — PERF News


All I can say is “sad, very sad” for the citizens of this city. It is possible to reform and improve large police agencies. But the success rate is extremely poor.

It’s going to take more than this.

It’s going to take more than this. To develop a proud new generation of police is going to take leadership throughout the department which is bright, persistent, patient and has internalized the values of policing a free society — start with Sir Robert Peel’s Nine Principles!

Recently on Baltimore HERE.


  1. David, that report is 4 years old. Of course “It’s going to take more than this.” There’s a consent decree in place and a lot of organizational change underway in policies, training, technology, and leadership.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so. After so many years of just plain mediocrity in the ranks and unwilling leaders, I often get really depressed. And now with the pandemic stressing all our systems from top to bottom, the police for whom I hold this shining dream, will never come to be a reality across our nation.


  2. There are plenty of challenges, one of which is 300+ murders a year in a city of just 600,000 population. Three mayors and five police commissioners over the last 5 years — no stability or continuity and a lot of fundamental systems, including homicide investigation, allowed to wither. The current police administration has been in place 14 months and is trying to play the long game — rebuild the foundation, policies, training, technology, culture. But the political pressure to reduce murders right now is intense. And now the virus.


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