02/01/2010

In policy reversal, Baltimore will name officers in shootings

48-hour delay added in return to former policy

By Justin Fenton
Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Reversing a controversial decision made last year, city police say they will reinstate the decades-long policy of releasing the names of officers involved in shootings, this time opting for a 48-hour window that allows police to put safeguards in place for the officer.

The move comes 10 months after Mayor Sheila Dixon asked Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III to rethink the policy of withholding the officers' names. Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said Bealefeld consulted with various members of the community and that the change represents a compromise.

"Our concern throughout this entire time has been the personal safety considerations of officers and their families," Guglielmi said. "But we have an obligation as a public safety agency to balance transparency, and we feel 48 hours would give us ample time to put things in place for the officer while being transparent enough for the public."

Policies vary across the country, but the Police Department's new practice puts it back in line with other local agencies. Last month, the police chief in St. Louis moved to reverse his department's policy and begin releasing names. Agencies in New York City and Philadelphia do not release them.

Read full story: Police to name officers involved in shootings

Back to previous page