Saturday, May 09, 2015

Two Months Ago Obama Admin. Praised Baltimore Police as a Model Department on Race Relations

Now they are investigating Baltimore PD for racism. Plus, the Obama Admin. cut funds for Baltimore Police training!

In March the White House released an interim report on the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In the report (PDF):
1.2 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should acknowledge the role of policing in past and present injustice and discrimination and how it is a hurdle to the promotion of community trust.

At one listening session, a panel of police chiefs described what they had been doing in recent years to recognize and own the history and to change the culture within both the police forces and the communities.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts described the process in his city:
The process started with the commissioning of a study to evaluate the police department and the community’s views of the agency . . . . The review uncovered broken policies, outdated procedures, outmoded technology, and operating norms that put officers at odds with the community they are meant to serve. It was clear that dramatic and dynamic change was needed.
Ultimately, the Baltimore police created the Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau, tasked with rooting out corruption, holding officers accountable, and implementing national best practices for polices and training. New department heads were appointed and a use of force review structure based on the Las Vegas model was implemented. “These were critical infrastructure changes centered on the need to improve the internal systems that would build accountability and transparency, inside and outside the organization,” noted Commissioner Batts.
The Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, testified before the commission citing Baltimore's broad reform and drop in complaints towards police. In written testimony she said "Baltimore is in a much better place with finding the right balance between being tough on crime and building bridges of trust with the community." She later requested the Department of Justice to open an investigation of Baltimore Police in the wake of recent events.

Will the Mayor and Police Commissioner be held accountable for their earlier statements?

Obama Admin. Cut Funds for Baltimore PD Training

The Mayor also cited the need for additional funds for training. The Obama Administration CUT funds for training Baltimore Cops and instead gave the grant money to the production company for the PBS program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." Perhaps they thought playing the Mr. Rogers' theme song "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" would help the residents of Baltimore's inner city.

Only in Obama land can you go from praising the Baltimore Police to investigating them for racism in the span of two months. But then, this isn't really about the Baltimore Police. It's about politics and using the sad events of the death of Freddie Gray to advance an anti-cop agenda!

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