The Baltimore Police Department falls short by 489 officers, which is limiting reform and preventing compliance with the federal consent decree, officials said Thursday.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the staffing shortage is also keeping police from being present in the community.
“In order to have good community engagement, you have to have the free time. In order to have the free time, you have to have the officers, and the only way to have the officers without having them is to pay officers to work more and longer,” he said.
The consent decree requires officers to spend 15 to 20 minutes each hour engaged with the community. U.S. Chief District Judge James Bredar at a hearing on Wednesday warned police that compliance will remain largely on the drawing board if more officers are not hired.