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Keyword: police

A Critical and United Step Toward Equal Justice

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued the following statement following the bipartisan passage of the SMART Policing Act by a vote of six to one:

"Today Baltimore County has taken a critical—and united—next step toward equal justice. The SMART Policing Act will make our Police Department and our County better for everyone. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the County Council for ensuring bipartisan progress in meeting the challenge that this moment demands. This is not the end, but it is another important step towards a more just and equitable future.”

County Experienced Reductions in Crime Through First Six Months of 2020

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today released a new interactive data dashboard, where residents can view detailed information about crime. The dashboard is the latest tool available to increase government transparency and accountability in Baltimore County.

“Residents deserve to know exactly what’s happening in their communities, and this dashboard shines a light on crime statistics in Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “We’re pleased that the dashboard shows that crime is decreasing in Baltimore County, and that Baltimore County remains a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The data dashboard includes County Part 1 Crime data from 2017 to present. The dashboard will be updated each month.

“We will continue to work relentlessly on building public trust in the communities that we serve. The creation of this information center increases our transparency for citizens to see and understand what is happening in their communities and within our agency,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. “We remain committed to promoting equitable policing across Baltimore County and will continue to evolve and enhance our level of service.”

According to data through the first six months of 2020, Baltimore County reported reductions in homicides and all other major crime categories. From January 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, Baltimore County saw the following major reductions compared to the same period in 2019:

  • Homicides: 15 percent decrease
  • Burglary: 35 percent decrease
  • Robberies: 30 percent decrease
  • Assault: 24 percent decrease
  • Theft: 23 percent decrease
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: 15 percent decrease

No Part 1 crime categories saw year-over-year increases.

“Ensuring the safety of our communities is one of our most important responsibilities and I want to applaud Chief Hyatt and the Baltimore County Police Department for their bravery, service, and progress,” Olszewski added. “Early in the new year, I introduced a series of interventions to enhance the safety of our communities, changes which are already showing significant progress. Moving ahead, we will continue to innovate to make sure Baltimore County’s neighborhoods remain safe.”

The interactive crime data dashboard released today joins Baltimore County’s growing set of resources for residents that provide greater transparency, reflecting Olszewski’s unprecedented commitment to a more transparent and accountable government.

Earlier this year, Olszewski launched BCSTAT, a data-driven performance management program that aims to improve performance, ensure data quality, enhance transparency and increase accountability across government.

Baltimore County has also released a number of downloadable raw data-sets related to numerous government functions and services. Open Data also includes access to the “My Neighborhood” interactive mapping application, which allows residents to select, view and print predefined maps and reports about Baltimore County, such as police precincts, enterprise zones or census information.

In 2019, the Olszewski Administration released the Baltimore County Open Budget platform to empower residents to explore the County’s budget in an online, easily understood format. The platform currently features information on current and prior year’s budgets, including revenue and expenditures for both operating and capital expenses.

As part of a recent package of reforms to improve transparency and accountability in the Baltimore County Police Department, the Olszewski Administration announced plans to build public dashboards displaying data on the number and disposition of complaints against police officers, instances of uses of force and traffic stop data broken down by race. These dashboards will be released in the coming weeks.

Proposed Reforms are Steps Toward Addressing Community Concerns

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a series of steps to improve accountability in the County’s Police Department (BCoPD) and promote more equitable policing.

These steps are the latest efforts by Olszewski’s administration to address systemic challenges and improve relationships between communities and the Police Department.

“The protests we’ve seen in Baltimore County and around the country are shining a bright light on what we already knew—that we have a long way to go to achieve equal justice for African American communities and that local leaders have a responsibility to take action,” Olszewski said. “We are listening to those in our community who have been marginalized, and we are recommitting to making real change.”

Taken together, the steps announced today aim to improve transparency and accountability in the Baltimore County Police Department, create a more diverse police force and improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

The steps announced by Olszewski and Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt are:

  • Update Use of Force policy. The Department has previously made a number of improvements to its use of force trainings that are in alignment with police best practices. The trainings include de-escalation training, Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT), and implicit bias training. Additionally, Chief Hyatt has incorporated into the Department’s Use of Force policy the concept of Sanctity of Life, the Duty to Intervene and Report excessive or unnecessary use of force, and the importance of Constitutional Policing. The County will now sign the Obama Foundation Pledge to review and update its use of force policy with community input.
  • Implement Fair and Impartial Police Training Curriculum for all BCoPD members. The Department will bring in a nationally-recognized police training program on Fair and Impartial Policing to be provided to all BCoPD commanders, officers and employees in the coming year.
  • Increased transparency of complaint, use of force and traffic stop data. In accordance with Olszewski’s commitment to a more transparent, accountable government, the County will build public dashboards displaying data on the number and disposition of complaints against police officers, instances of uses of force and traffic stop data broken down by race.
  • Support state legislation to amend the MPIA to increase transparency related to discipline cases. County leaders will support legislation in Annapolis to amend the Maryland Public Information Act to increase transparency related to the disposition of police disciplinary actions.
  • Conduct independent analysis and review of BCoPD hiring and recruitment practices. The County will hire an independent third-party organization to conduct a comprehensive review of our hiring and recruitment practices, including a review of data for discriminatory impacts or practices in our testing and background investigations.
  • Expand scope and duration of Equitable Policing Workgroup. Olszewski has issued an Executive Order to expand the scope of the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, originally formed to examine traffic stop data. Going forward, the Workgroup will be a permanent advisory group and will focus more broadly on disparities in policing.

“I’m grateful to the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department who serve honorably and put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities and I believe that these steps will make the Department even stronger,” Olszewski said.

About the Equitable Policing Workgroup

In November 2019, after reviewing traffic stop data showing that African American individuals were issued citations at a higher rate than other individuals, Olszewski created the Workgroup on Equitable Policing to examine policing policies and practices.

Chaired by the County’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Troy Williams, the group has met six times, including two community listening sessions, and will issue a report later this year. Going forward, the group will continue to examine traffic stop data and will also:

  • Review community policing training policies and practices
  • Review oversight systems, seeking community input and identifying best practices
  • Review the internal and external officer complaint and disciplinary process

Williams is the County’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, a position created by Olszewski to help address disparities and promote equity and inclusion countywide.

In addition to the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, Olszewski created a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council and Employee Advisory Council, both aimed at advancing equity and inclusion in Baltimore County and changing the culture of County government to focus consistently on equity in decision-making.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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