Baltimore police union approves contract introducing civilian oversight
The new three-year contract requires two civilian volunteers to serve on all oversight review boards, along with three sworn officers
By Christina Tkacik
The Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — Members of the Baltimore Police Department voted Tuesday to accept a new labor agreement with the city that would increase civilian oversight of the department.
The new three-year contract requires two civilian volunteers to serve on all oversight review boards, along with three sworn officers.
The idea was supported by public and elected officials who have called for increased oversight in police misconduct cases. But it had been unpopular with some members of the department, who said residents were not qualified to understand the complex decisions police were required to make.
The news was announced on Twitter by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3. Union President Sgt. Michael Mancuso did not immediately respond to requests for comment by The Baltimore Sun.
The new agreement is considered a victory for Mayor Catherine Pugh and other reform advocates. In a statement, Pugh called it “a 'win-win' for the dedicated officers of the Baltimore Police Department and the citizens of Baltimore.”
City Solicitor Andre Davis, a key player in the negotiations, said the union vote was a victory for both sides.
He called the deal, "Big for Baltimore City and Big for FOP."
"There can be two winners sometimes when disputants work together in good faith," he said.
The tentative agreement between the city and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 also includes 3 percent annual raises for officers and a return to a shift schedule of five-day work weeks, composed of 8.5-hour shifts; the current schedule is four 10-hour shifts.
The new proposal includes a $1,000 ratification bonus and a 3 percent raise each fiscal year until fiscal year 2021. It also includes a $1,000 “patrol Incentive” bonus for two years for any officer who works patrol the entire fiscal year.
A recent staffing study found that patrol positions have been understaffed with a vacancy rate of 26 percent.
The proposal could help reduce overtime spending, but it’s not clear whether those savings would be greater than the cost of the raises officers are being offered.