Most Baltimore Police officers who participated in a recent informal survey feel restricted by the department’s federal consent decree, inadequately trained and unsupported by city leadership.
Some of the officers surveyed said they don’t even feel comfortable intervening in incidents and making arrests without having been called to the scene.
“They’re afraid,” said City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, who conducted the unscientific survey. “In this political environment, you have to justify every move you make.”
About 362 of the department’s nearly 2,300 officers responded to Schleifer’s voluntary survey, which was sent at the end of 2018 via department email to police department leadership, officers and civilian members who responded anonymously. The short questionnaire asked basic biographical information, including respondents’ ages and how long they had served on the force, and questions about overall morale.
The results showed 43 percent said they do not feel “comfortable making self-initiated arrests,” which Schleifer said refers to proactive calls when officers are on patrol and they witness an incident and intervene, as opposed to calls they respond to through 911.
The survey also found that 74 percent said they “feel restricted by the consent decree,” while 44 percent said they don’t “fully understand the consent decree.” Only 60 percent said they feel “adequately trained” while 78 percent said they feel the department has “lowered our hiring standards.”
Two of every three officers who took the survey — 68 percent — also said they do not feel city leadership supports law enforcement.
Sgt. Mike Mancuso, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, the union that represents the rank-and-file officers, said in a statement on Twitter Friday that he hopes city leadership takes notes of the responses.