National Policing Institute
Relationships between Baltimore community members and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) have long been a focal point of BPD command staff and elected officials citywide. Several examinations of police-community relations in Baltimore City over the years have identified areas for improvement. Among the most critical was the civil rights investigation the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) conducted into the practices of the BPD, which led to the United States, the City of Baltimore, and the BPD entering into a consent decree on April 7, 2017. An overarching goal of the consent decree is to improve police-community relations through multiple strategies, including the development of community engagement plans, to which community feedback is critical. To inform the plan’s development, the BPD engaged the National Policing Institute (NPI) to assist in gathering input from Baltimore-area community members on BPD community policing strategies. From June through October 2019, NPI partnered with Loyola University Maryland and No Boundaries Coalition and planned, conducted, and analyzed data from focus groups, mobile field interview and discussion sessions, and open feedback forms. The questions were designed to gather perceptions of the BPD and elicit input on expectations for police service. Over 600 community members provided responses to the questions. The approximately 3,450 individual statements were then analyzed and coded, and several prominent themes emerged. Overall, participants indicated expectations of consistent, fair, and respectful police service. The community members’ priority areas include actionable items, many of which the BPD incorporated into their community policing and engagement plan. Notably, the primary themes, sub-themes, and desires of the majority of participants closely align with those expressed by BPD employees and align with the key themes identified in the consent decree.
Interviews, Focus groups, Surveys
National Policing Institute. (2020). Baltimore community input to the Baltimore Police Department community policing plan. https://www.policinginstitute.org/publication/baltimore-community-input-to-the-baltimore-police-department-community-policing-plan/
Strategic Priority Area(s)