The conclusion by the Justice Department that the Baltimore Police Department routinely violated people's civil rights begins a reform effort that is expected to take years and cost tens of millions of dollars.
Federal and city officials said Wednesday that they have reached the outlines of what will become a court-enforced agreement on how to remedy the problems in the Police Department. The final negotiations are expected to be completed by Nov. 1, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Implementing changes is costly. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said other big police departments have spent between $5 million and $10 million a year to impose fixes, and she anticipates a similar bill for Baltimore.
"We are committed to making sure these reforms happen," she said Wednesday. "While we understand that Baltimore doesn't have a blank check, in order for those reforms to happen there has to be commitment to dollars."
While City Hall will almost certainly struggle to find funding to pay for reforms called for in the agreement, the federal government is not likely to open up a wealth of new cash. Baltimore will have to compete with other cities for federal grants just as it has in the past.
The process does not always go smoothly. Leaders in Ferguson, Mo., initially agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department, but the City Council balked at the cost. The Justice Department sued the city to force changes — an option that would remain on the table in Baltimore.
The preliminary agreement in Baltimore does not spell out how long monitoring will last, but an initial term of five years is typical.