The president of the local police union in Baltimore on Monday thanked a police academy legal instructor for voicing concerns about the preparedness of new recruits who received guns and badges over the weekend, saying the "training deficiencies that he exposed are real and should, by no means, be allowed to continue."
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said his 5,000-member union wished to "extend our sincere gratitude" to Sgt. Josh Rosenblatt for the "courage and his commitment" he showed in speaking out about the readiness of the department's newest officers, reports the Baltimore Sun.
"As we have stressed in the past, this is a job that is not suited to every individual who applies and, as such, we also strongly suggest there be a more stringent process at the hiring level," Ryan wrote.
Rosenblatt, the academy's head of legal instruction, said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun on Friday that 17 of 50 recruits in the latest academy class had repeatedly failed tests on legal standards and lacked even a basic understanding of certain principles — such as the need for probable cause in order to make arrests.
He said all of the recruits eventually passed, but only after academy leaders removed him and other legal instructors from the process and swapped out his more rigorous testing model for an older multiple choice version.
In response, Acting Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said he was looking into Rosenblatt's concerns, but that the recruits had met state testing standards. He also said they would receive eight weeks of training on the street before formally becoming Baltimore police officers.