Six weeks after Baltimore’s police commissioner rolled out a new crime-fighting strategy, the city’s police union announced this afternoon that it’s now crafting its own.
The plan Harrison outlined on July 18 includes exploring new metrics for officer performance–among them a goal for 10-minute response times–and relying on data to deploy officers in focused patrol areas where crimes are statistically more likely to happen.
But in a statement that used mocking quotes to describe the “current plan,” the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3 said its “strategy will be based on the vast knowledge and experience of current and former members of the Baltimore Police Department.”
The same message began by saying the “men and women of the Baltimore Police Department are losing faith in our elected and appointed leaders,” and called the formation of its own crime-fighting strategy “an unprecedented step.”
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) August 29, 2019
Neither the mayor’s office nor BPD responded to requests for comment on the union’s announcement.
The jab at Harrison and city leaders comes amid increasing tensions between police leaders and the union.
Yesterday, the union said it has no plans to meet with Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to discuss any number of issues.
Last night, BPD officers fatally shot Tyrone Banks near Fayette and N. Caroline streets in East Baltimore. Harrison said Banks had stepped out of a car and started shooting at officers around 11 p.m. The cops then returned fire, killing him. An officer was injured in the incident; he was released from University of Maryland Shock Trauma today and is expected to recover.
About 36 hours earlier, Banks had allegedly shot at an officer and tried to run another over with his car on Reisterstown Road in West Baltimore before fleeing. The police union had complained about how it was handled, criticizing that brass called off a high-speed pursuit of the SUV Banks was allegedly driving after he first shot at the officer.
Harrison said “the pursuit was called off because of the danger factor to citizens and officers.”
The FOP has also criticized Harrison online in recent weeks. In late July, after the release of his crime plan, union president Mike Mancuso characterized the strategy as “untenable” and said it did not address the persistent shortage of patrol officers or unmet technology needs.
“Any crime plan must begin with the stark reality of the current resources available, not the resources that are desired,” Mancuso wrote in a late July letter.
The union has been actively maligning on social media, with a stream of social media posts ending with the hashtag #CityInCrisis. The criticism has come amid a spike in attacks on law enforcement, including the gunpoint robbery of a deputy commissioner and his wife; the shooting of a longtime sergeant who had multiple surgeries and was hospitalized for nearly two weeks; an attempted robbery of an off-duty school policer officer and a retired corrections officer, who then shot and killed their alleged attacker; and a civilian employee attacked by several teens.
Young yesterday characterized the union’s recent spate of online barbs as “a great distraction,” and called for the union, his camp and others to meet.
The union retorted that it was supposed to meet with the mayor this past Monday, but said Young cancelled, “citing his disagreement with the main topic.”
The police union says it now plans to deliver its “comprehensive strategy” for fighting crime to Young, Harrison and Gov. Larry Hogan within the next 30 days.
This story has been updated.