Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has assigned her new Bloomberg-funded “Innovation Team” to figure out how to recruit more police and retain them, More officers have left than have been hired every year since 2012.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has given her first assignment for Baltimore’s new Bloomberg-funded “Innovation Team:” Figure out how to recruit more police and retain them, reports the Baltimore Sun. Dan Hymowitz of the Mayor’s Office of Innovation said his four-person team will spend at least six months delving into the issue, holding focus groups and reviewing exit interviews with officers. The city will receive as much as $500,000 annually for the program. Pugh said she wanted the team to focus on public safety as Baltimore faces a surging homicide rate. “Their focus is on violence reduction. One of the things we can improve is recruitment and retention,” she said. “What do we need to put in place to make sure we’re retaining our police officers?”
A perennial issue in Baltimore, recruiting and retaining police has become a more pronounced problem after the city experienced the turmoil related to the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custody. More officers have left the agency than have been hired every year since 2012. In 2015, 249 officers left but just 91 were hired. In 2016, 221 officers left the force, compared with the 111 who joined. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the city has hired 144 new officers so far this year, the first time in years that hiring has outpaced the number of officers leaving. “There’s rumors out there and urban legends out there about no one wants to come to Baltimore, no one wants to be a Baltimore cop,” Davis said. “That’s all really a bunch of B.S.”