Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Baltimore officials, and the independent monitor overseeing the January 2017 policing reform consent decree, expressing serious concerns about 17 police recruits who graduated from the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) academy even though they failed tests on laws governing constitutional policing. LDF is alarmed that, according to media reports, BPD academy officials responded to recruits’ failing grades by administering an older, less rigorous test that all recruits passed.
LDF’s letter notes that, “officers who have not demonstrated proficiency in the legal requirements of constitutional policing should not patrol city streets.” LDF calls on the city to retrain immediately any officers who failed to demonstrate a full understanding of the parameters of constitutional policing requirements, and that those officers be withheld from patrol duties until they have met the necessary standards. According to the draft First-Year Monitoring Plan and Budget, BPD must revise its policies and training relating to use of force, stops, searches, arrests, and voluntary police-community interactions by November 2018 and implement new training by January 2019. LDF believes it is unreasonable and contrary to the letter and spirit of the consent decree to place new police recruits on city streets before the new policies and training are in place. As BPD may have an immediate need for new police officers, LDF recommends that the parties expedite revisions to BPD’s policies and training so that all officers are sufficiently prepared for the job.
Read LDF’s letter here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.