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Baltimore Maryland Police Department Research Paper


Abstract

Racial profiling is a major ethical issue in the Baltimore Police Department. Freddie Gray unrest is considered among other cases of racial profiling with deadly consequences. Hence, ethical situations arise. This implementation program is appropriate for the entire BPD, and senior leaders, including the Chief of Police, must participate. The solutions include creating a more diverse BPD, skills acquisition, community partnership, and data collection and analysis. These solutions are expected to be implemented with persons responsible to reduce cases of racial profiling. Finally, the draft Code of Ethics shows that the policing Department has a duty to protect the community and prevent crimes. As such, members of the Department are expected to meet these roles through fairness and impartiality without discrimination.

Introduction

One major ethical issue of concern currently facing the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is racial profiling. It is widely believed that thorough and integrated police recruitment, selection, training, and professional development can work toward curtailing and reducing racially, biased policing currently witnessed in Baltimore among police officers (Hoskote, 2014). In addition, skills for policing, reaching out to the community, and data collection and analysis would help to address racial profiling. This is an implementation plan for the ethical situation, racial profiling in the BPD.

Ethical Situation

Research has revealed that the BPD focuses an overly concentrated effort in primarily African American populated parts of the city. For example, the BPD conducted 300,000 stops from January 2010 to May 2014 (Johnson & Peralta, 2016). The breakdown of those stops revealed 44% were solely in two predominantly African American communities, 12% of those areas compose 12 percent of the city’s population. Further, trespassing and failure to obey were the major charges documented (Johnson & Peralta, 2016). Although African Americans comprise only 63% of the city’s population, 91% of the 300,000 were African Americans (Johnson & Peralta, 2016). These figures reflect racial profiling in Baltimore, which is a case for ethical situations.

Identification of Stakeholders

The BPD has approximately 3,000 employees, including about some 2,600 sworn officers headed by a Police Commissioner (US Department of Justice, 2016). Given the weighty matter of racial profiling in the US, the Police Commissioner is an important stakeholder for this plan.

In addition, there are two major divisions, namely the Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigation Division. These divisions may also have several units. Thus, stakeholders for the issue must be chosen carefully across various units.

The police chiefs who oversee each division will take part in the training. Patrol officers will be drawn from the nine police districts to attend the training, as well as their captains, whose roles involve supervising officers and directing police activities.

Stakeholders will also be drawn from the Criminal Investigation Division and the Operational Investigation Division. Each unit within these Divisions would provide their representatives, specifically officers investigating violent offenders, gangs, drug, and gun crimes.

Other stakeholders would also be drawn from the BPD’s Community Collaboration Division. This Division concentrates on building better police-community relations in Baltimore.

District supervisors who handle some complaints involving police misconduct will also take part in this program. These supervisors handle offenses deemed as less serious.

Further, the Civilian Review Board will also provide representatives because the Board acts as the public ‘watchdog’ to enhance accountability in the BPD. Representatives from the Board will also represent members of the public.

Finally, BPD also works alongside several auxiliary law enforcement agencies. For instance, the Baltimore School Police, the police force of the Baltimore City Public School System will also provide representatives for this program to reduce racial profiling in police activities.

Training

The training program will be developed for the above-mentioned stakeholders. The program is intended to address racial profiling as an ethical situation and all other challenges associated with it. In addition, this training will be about practice rather than memorizing policies. It will be practical and face-to-face live training instead of relying on online training tools to demonstrate basic knowledge of racial profiling and bias-free policing.

The Plan to Address Racial Profiling

Decisions about the benefits of racial profiling ethical issues are vital and should be based on facts rather than partial analysis and anecdotal accounts. As such, this plan presents specific interventions and illustrates them for a given situation. It shows strategies of how to handle issues of racial profiling in BPD.

The Relevance of Addressing Racial Profiling

It will enhance police safety when officers are on patrols. Baltimore is a city that has experienced some of the most recent riots because of racial profiling issues. Addressing the issue will lead to enhanced trust between the police and the public.

It is ethically right because racial profiling is poor policing. An open discourse about racial issues would allow the community and police to understand factors that have led to the current situations.

The BPD will experience reduced cases of expensive litigations. The focus on curtailing inappropriate and negative impacts of policy actions on minorities would ensure that the BPD reduces possible criminal and civil lawsuits associated with racial profiling.

Trained officers are most likely to be more effective. By relying on search and seizure information, officers would be able to identify specific persons of all races whose behaviors could indicate criminal intentions.

Finally, the city is changing in terms of demographics. The BPD must strive to ensure that Baltimore is safe and attractive. In this case, hiring practices should account for diverse communities while officers also get cultural competence training programs.

Solutions and Best Practices

It may take a long period before the ethical issue is utterly comprehended. In the meantime, the BPD should implement the following solutions to tackle racial profiling as a series of interventions planned to reduce inappropriate and negative consequences of such practices on minorities, especially people of color.

The possible approaches are presented here.

Solution One: Create a More Diverse BPD

Baltimore is a city made of many races. By ensuring diversity in the BPD, the police will enhance mutual understanding in the city. Although the current composition reflects some aspects of diversity, the BPD still needs to increase the percentage of officers from minority races.

First, the BPD will adopt different recruitment and hiring practices and policies. Past policies and practices have restricted hiring of qualified people from minority races. The BPD should consider qualifications based on broader criteria to match new realities in the community. Experiences and qualifications would prepare any persons to a better career with the BPD.

Second, the Department should also adopt a new recruiting approach. Instead of depending on narrow sources of applicants, the police recruitment exercise should be a well-publicized affair driven by diverse networks to ensure that the BPD can attract the best candidates from various communities.

Third, the current hiring process should be streamlined to ensure that it is not impersonal, lengthy, and demanding. The hiring process, specifically for communities of color should not have irrelevant requirements acting as hurdles, including referencing and examinations. The BPD has improved in hiring practices because prospective applicants can now review available career opportunities at the Web site to acquire insights concerning hiring processes, contact background investigators, and get the latest information on the progress.

Finally, it would also be vital for the BPD to analyze hiring data to determine if there are any compliance issues, intended effects, or if the Department still encounters challenges.

Solution Two: Highly Skilled Personnel

Police are expected to associate with community members in a highly respectful and just manner. However, not all officers possess skills for good interpersonal relations. It appears that training programs do not focus on class, race, and politics, which could influence the public perception of police performance and the ability to relate well with the public. As such, training on the effects of race on interpersonal relations with specific reference to history, past and current affairs will be included in the training program. This area will also cover effective customer service to the community.

Training will emphasize the importance of customer service and, therefore, officers would be encouraged to participate in such training programs. Specifically, traffic and patrol officers would offer more information in a more pleasant fashion. This approach may require redesigning current traffic stop practices. It would also be necessary to assess the impacts of such changes on police courtesy after training. For example, police will be encouraged to provide their full details or business cards, as well as specific reasons or tickets for stopping a pedestrian or a driver.

Training for crisis events will also be administered to help officers relate well to individuals during crises. This training program will be specifically important for patrol officers and District Supervisors.

The BPD should also learn from other successful police services. The Department is currently experiencing critical organizational change, which also requires an organizational culture change to address inconsistent effects of public safety and racial profiling issues on communities of color. Specifically, the Department should work alongside the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to get technical support and collaborate with the University of Baltimore or any other institutions of higher learning to research the effects of its change initiatives on the public.

Finally, training on skills should also introduce external consultants to the Department. Consultants will work on cultural competency and personnel training; conduct needs assessment to determine areas of weaknesses and views on racial profiling, and assess the Department’s current training programs to understand how they relate to issues of communities of color and racial profiling.

Solution Three: Collaboration with the Community for Mutual Trust and Coexistence

Centuries of atrocities on people of color have led to poor relationships with the law enforcement officers. Minorities are skeptical and distrustful of the police, and this is a risky situation for the community. Through conscious efforts to reach out communities specifically negatively impacted by racial profiling, the BPD will be able to create long-lasting trust, ties, and mutual understanding that would be vital in lessening suspicion and advancing opportunities for a constructive approach to the community challenges.

To achieve this, the BPD ‘s Civilian Review Board, the BPD’s Community Collaboration Division, and the Baltimore School Police will work with various community groups and leaders to promote collaboration. Such meetings may target youth events, peace-building initiatives, meetings for a live conversation, and other preferred efforts involving communities of color.

Solution Four: Data Collection and Analysis

The BPD should collect, analyze, and share all collected data involving police stops with various stakeholders, including minorities. The main objective of this solution is to gather relevant data on all police stops and analyze them to provide useful insights that can be used to address racial profiling. Data will provide the actual situation, notable achievements, and facilitate policing policy change. The BPD will assess and refine data for collection on racial profiling when officers interact with communities of color to enhance the reliability of the collected data and ensure useful information is available. The Department should have systems for storing such data. Moreover, it can rely on local universities to conduct studies on racial profiling.

The Implementation Plan and Process

Solutions Strategies Goal Objective Start Date Impact on Racial Profiling Persons Responsible
Create a More Diverse BPD
  • Review education requirements for minorities
  • Review hiring standards and processes
  • Create recruitment awareness
  • Analyze hiring and recruitment data
To create a Department that is more diverse and closely represent all races to enhance understanding and mutual trust in Baltimore To increase the number of minority officers in the Department by 10% in the year 2007 2017 recruitment Many applicants from minority communities will be eligible The Human Resource of BPD
Highly Skilled Personnel
  • Create awareness on race-related issues
  • Develop a new curriculum for training officers on race history, racial relations, and current events
  • Training on Interpersonal relationships and the race issue
  • Customer services to all officers
To ensure that BPD
consistently
relate with community members in a fair and respectful fashion
To ensure that complaint rates against police officers have dropped by 5% within six months 2017 onwards Officers will understand the community of Baltimore and its contexts Chief of Police, HR, Captains, and District Supervisors
Collaboration with the Community for Mutual Trust and Coexistence
  • Working with key community leaders and groups to facilitate interactions
  • Learn and gain in-depth knowledge of minority communities
  • Meetings for face-to-face discussion and relationship-building
Enhanced mutual trust and communication between the BPD and communities of color impacted by racial profiling Reach out to 5 community
groups and leaders to facilitate interaction with community members
2017 onwards Better relations will reduce tensions, cynicism and stereotyping The Civilian Review Board, the BPD’s Community Collaboration Division, and the Baltimore School Police
Data Collection and Analysis
  • Identify the best data for collection
  • Regular data analysis
  • Collect more specific traffic stop data to determine sources of disparities
Gather the required data on police stops to assist efforts to address racial profiling by acquiring an accurate view of the current
the situation, progress attained, and to
facilitate policy change as necessary
To determine sources of racial profiling, police bias, and formulate the best intervention strategies 2017 onwards More reliable information for decision-making District Supervisors and the Civilian Review Board, and help from external relations, such as consultants, universities and other entities with expertise in data analysis and reporting

A Draft Code of Ethics

Introduction

The draft Code of Ethics is based on the notion that the policing Department has a duty to protect the community and prevent crimes. As such, members of the Department are expected to meet this role through fairness and impartiality. It is also noted that a significant number of officers act with integrity and honesty. Nevertheless, some officers may display some aspects of unprofessional conduct and consequently, ruin the reputation of the entire BPD.

The Code of Ethics defines principles and behavior standards aimed at enhancing, reinforcing, and supporting optimal standards among officers at the BPD. This Code of Ethics also serves preventive roles. Specifically, the Code of Ethics should address issues of racial profiling and other concerns that raise ethical situations in policing. No officers should engage in any unprofessional conduct and, therefore, they are expected to question behaviors that do not meet the set-out standards (College of Policing, 2014). In addition, the Code of Ethics encourages officers to report and take action to determine unwanted policing.

The Code of Ethics

Honesty and Integrity

This standard requires the BPD personnel to act with honesty and integrity. Police officers are encouraged to use their positions, identifications, and/or warrant card for policing roles only. That is, they should not use such privileges for personal gains. Further, the BPD should run based on transparency and openness. This is important in maintaining and promoting mutual trust between the BPD and the community. Therefore, officers who meet this principle should be sincere and truthful; courageous in their right behaviors; act firmly on objective decisions; do not intentionally mislead or make false allegations; avoid soliciting or accepting offers that could compromise impartiality, and do not abuse their positions for personal gains.

Equality and Diversity

This standard is extremely important for racial profiling. It requires the BPD officers to uphold the rule of law regarding human rights and equality, treats every person justly, impartially, and with respect. Officers are expected to demonstrate empathy and compassion as they interact with people of color. Officers should handle people based on their needs, respond positively to vulnerable persons who may require additional assistance, and play an active role in preventing and opposing possible discrimination based on individual diversity. Officers should also act on merit and make informed objective decisions. Further, they must also recognize the needs of protected persons with diverse characteristics, including disability, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs, and gender among others. Finally, officers will also use any available opportunities to enhance diversity and equality in the city.

Confidentiality

This standard requires officers to understand and be familiar with confidentiality issues and data protection as required under the law. Any police-held information must remain confidential, and it can only be used for legitimate roles only. Hence, no police officer should provide information to unauthorized persons whether on or off duty. Officers should understand that by conducting unlawful searches and accessing personal data, they could be held accountable under the law irrespective of their findings. Officers who abide by this standard capture the right information, only disclose such information when required to do so under the law, and always maintain the confidentiality of all sensitive and commercial data.

Conduct

Members of BPD are expected to maintain the highest standards of behaviors at all times. They must, therefore, focus on how members of the public regard police behavior. Police officers should assess whether a given action, behavior, or omission could negatively affect public trust and confidence in the BPD. The police will rely on various strategies to assess whether a particular behavior has discredited policing based on a given situation. Although media are important, other alternatives to capture officer behaviors are available for the Department. Officers who meet this standard behave in a manner that does not discredit policing and the BPD.

Hence, they avoid activities associated with reputational damages and eroding trust and confidence. They also comply with the law and requirements of the Fraternal Order of Police’s 2012 Blueprint. Further, the officers do not engage in any activities that could compromise their positions or colleagues’ position or the entire Department. They are punctual and have high standards of appearance whether on or off duty in uniform or plain clothes.

Additionally, supervisors are encouraged to ensure that police officers act professionally and conduct their duties as required. Any behaviors and actions that do not meet the minimum threshold of the Code must be addressed immediately. Reporting is also encouraged to address challenges and behaviors that do not meet the standards. Supervisors must evaluate, take the necessary action, or otherwise escalate unethical conduct and wrongdoing outside the Code of Ethics. The BPD will also not tolerate victimization or discrimination of officers who report the unprofessional conduct of other officers.

Selflessness

The BPD personnel is expected to act in the best interest of the community rather than themselves. Officers will act honestly and ethically because the community expects them to do the right thing in the right way without discrimination. Hence, the Code of Ethics should guide the decisions and actions of officers.

References

College of Policing. (2014). . Web.

Hoskote, M. (2014). . Web.

Johnson, C., & Peralta, E. (2016). Justice Department Issues Scathing Report On Baltimore Police Department. Web.

US Department of Justice. (2016). . Web.

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