Report details issues related to the Baltimore riots earlier this year.
The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said the Baltimore Police Department has learned from the recent rioting that broke out in her city in April, and that the department is better prepared than ever to handle any future civil disturbances.
A story in the Baltimore Sun quoted the mayor as saying, “It is our goal that something like that never happens again. It is our goal to maintain safety and order, to protect the public and protect the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department.”
The statement came after an independent review of the way the disturbance in April was handled by the police that cited the agency for poor communication, inadequate planning, disorganized command structure, and insufficient training and equipment for its officers.
The report was requested by former Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, and was conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, a highly-regarded think tank based in Washington, D.C. The report, released Monday, cost the city $23,500.
New Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who replaced Batts in July, said the police were better prepared, not only because of recent changes that have been made to the department, but because the officers have now experienced first-hand rioting and looting.
Pointing out the the city had not experienced a riot situation since 1968, Davis said the previous failings were not only a training and equipment deficiency.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake said the city did not wait until they received the findings of the report to begin to institute changes in the department and its procedures, and added she was very pleased with the progress that had been made.
Not everyone was optimistic that the department would be ready for a future situation like the riots in April. City Councilman Carl Stokes said he was concerned about where the department is right now, and noting he would not want to “put us to the test.”
Stokes, who has announced he is running to be the next mayor of Baltimore, also said he hopes the Police Department continues to improve, so the residents of the city and the police officers themselves can feel safer.
The department has spent almost $2 million on new equipment and 1,500 officers have undergone civil disturbance training.