After this week’s conclusion of a federal corruption trial that convicted two Baltimore police officers, a Maryland lawmaker floated a radical proposal: disband the Baltimore Police Department.
Del. Bilal Ali, a Baltimore Democrat, proposed the idea in a memo he sent to Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and her newly appointed police commissioner after a federal jury convicted two Baltimore detectives for their roles in one of the city’s biggest police corruption scandals. Six other officers pleaded guilty in the case.
The idea quickly generated reaction among politicians Tuesday — from one calling it “nonsense” to others saying Ali's idea should not be dismissed.
To support his argument, Ali cited the example of Camden, N.J., which disbanded its troubled police force in 2013 and rebuilt the agency in ways that some say have led to a reduction in violent crime. Others criticize the move as a union-busting tactic to save money, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“I write today to ask that Baltimore City’s leadership seriously evaluate Camden’s approach, and begin consideration on whether to disband and reconstitute BPD from the ground up,” Ali wrote. “There is a blueprint for success, empirical data to guide us, and a light at the end of the tunnel. Our only choice now is whether we will begin to walk toward it.”