Consent Decree Monitor Kenneth L. Thompson stressed the importance for Baltimore to find a permanent police commissioner in order to implement changes required by the decree, he told a room of members of the region’s business community at a breakfast hosted by the Greater Baltimore Committee on Monday.
In talking about a staffing plan for the Baltimore Police Department, Thompson said that such a plan needs to be a “living and breathing document” with input from a permanent commissioner.
“If they’re going to be responsible for this department, they have a right to know what their staffing is going to look like. That’s a bit of a problem,” said Thompson, a partner at Venable LLP in Baltimore.
“I don’t know when we’re going to get a new commissioner … I certainly don’t know. But that is going to cause a bit of a delay,” he continued, “I know working is being done on the staffing plan but there’s no way we as the monitoring team can expect to get a plan that is worthy of our time until there’s a commissioner in place who has bought into it.”
Despite uncertainty in leadership within the police department, Thompson said he has some “cautious optimism” that the department and the city are invested in following the consent decree.
“They have met every deadline that has been set out in the consent decree,” Thompson said, also commending the city for hiring a technology consultant to make necessary upgrades.
“I think the adversarial process is working,” he said. “I think we’re very fortunate to have a city solicitor (Andre Davis) who is really invested in making sure that this consent decree and process work.”