The higher-ups in the Baltimore Police Department have disbanded part of a core section of plainclothes city police intelligence officers.
News broke last night that 46 officers will be moved from an intelligence section of the department to patrol assignments. The change arrives a week after seven officers from BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force were indicted on federal racketeering charges. The officers are accused of stealing from suspects and everyday citizens, defrauding taxpayers by claiming overtime pay while on vacation, falsifying paperwork and other misconduct and crimes.
The seven officers are tied to hundreds of cases. Police spokesman T.J. Smith shared a a statement from BPD on Monday that said the department is reviewing all of them and called it a “grueling process.”
The fallout has already resulted in some dropped charges for suspects arrested by the septet, including a former Safe Streets worker who claims four officers from that group who arrested him last August planted evidence.
All seven of the officers have been detained. Each has pleaded not guilty.
Smith said at a press conference today that 36 officers, seven sergeants and three lieutenants from the centralized discretionary units that worked in the field were disbanded. “This has nothing to do with any wrongdoing by any of those officers in that unit,” he said. “The ones that are accused of wrongdoing are the ones that are behind bars right now.”
The “overwhelming majority” of their operational intelligence section, including teams comprising city officers and federal agents and the department’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force, will remain intact, he noted.
“This is not any type of easing up on any strategies. It’s just a reallocation of resources,” Smith said.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis promised earlier this year to step up patrol assignments and already said the department would shift 100 officers to neighborhood patrol units. Mayor Catherine Pugh also told Davis she would allocate $3 million from the city’s budget for more patrol officers. Smith previously said that through these moves, the department would be able to take on 225 more officers in total.
This story has been updated with comment from Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith.
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