Author: UTXadmin

July 11, 2018

To: Editorial Staff, Baltimore Sun

In your recent Editorial (“Monthly City Council meetings on police overtime are about 15 years overdue”, July 9, 2018) you very correctly named all of the fiscal years that ended with an inordinate amount of overtime spending by the Baltimore Police Department. We fully agree with your belief that 15 years of these huge overages requires that the Department’s disbursements must be audited and more tightly controlled.

What we cannot accept, however, is your premise that there is a toxic “culture of overtime” in the Department. That statement seems to blame our members for much of the problem and, to a certain extent, insinuates that our greediness is the reason that the City must dig itself out of this hole year after year. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We know, as well as anyone, that there are a few bad apples in blue uniforms who have learned to abuse the overtime system and we commend the Department and the City for anything they can implement to stop such abuses. But to say that there is an ethos in our community that encourages and tolerates overtime abuses goes above and beyond the truth.

Like most Americans who work to support their families and educate their children, our members are no different. Yes, overtime pay does make it a bit easier, in many cases and, yes, we do have a few members who work extraordinary amounts of overtime as is exhibited each year when The Sun publishes its list of the highest paid Baltimore City employees. What we do not have, however, is a general philosophy that overtime is there for our benefit and should be used whenever possible. In fact, while the overtime costs might be rising, our members are spending less and less time with their own families; a situation they would rather not be in despite the money they might be making. In many cases, these extra hours worked are no longer voluntary but are mandatory to keep Patrol shifts at a required minimum number of officers.

No, ladies and gentlemen of the Sunpaper Editorial Staff, we are not the cause of the ever-rising increase in BPD overtime spending. We are the working stiffs who must pull off on the side of the road to catch a nap on the way home, so we don’t kill ourselves or others, after working 15 hours straight, often more than once in a four-day period.

The Baltimore City Council is right to meet regularly to attempt to control the situation and when they do, we can promise that the fault will not rest with our members but rather with the poor management and planning of the BPD. We, unfortunately at this point, are as much a victim as are the City taxpayers who must foot the bill.

Sincerely,
Lt. Gene Ryan
President, Baltimore City FOP, Lodge #3

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Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 has repeatedly warned that the Baltimore Police Department is critically understaffed. Baltimore City has recorded 161 homicides so far in 2017 – a record number of homicides ever during the first six months of the year. In reaction to this surge in violence, and in particular the recent six homicides over a 24-hour period, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis cancelled leave and placed our officers on 12-hour tours of duty to stem the violence. This, however, is merely a stopgap measure and not a long term plan of action, a plan to fight crime that the Baltimore Police Department still doesn’t have in place.

The FOP is committed to the safety of our police officers as well as the citizens of Baltimore who we serve. In January of this year, FOP President Gene Ryan warned that the city was at a “tipping point” in fighting violent crime due to the critical understaffing of uniformed officers assigned to patrol the city’s neighborhoods. The police commissioner found those comments to be offensive and the FOP was ignored. As of June 20, 2017, there are an additional twenty­three (23) full-time police officers assigned to patrol than there were in January.

Our police officers are repeatedly being drafted and forced to work additional hours to fill the shortage in patrol and patrol shifts are still going out under strength. The citizens of Baltinore deserve better service – every neighborhood should have their fair contingent of uniformed officers assigned to patrol their homes and schools. In turn our officers are fatigued and morale continues to decline. This in turn leads to the continued exodus of some of our best and youngest police officers to other agencies. The Baltimore Police Department cannot hire enough officers to match this attrition and until they admit this, and admit to their own failure in properly managing the agency and crime fight, the city will continue to see a surging crime rate.

In response to this crime crisis and uniform patrol shortage, the FOP will be going out in the community to meet with the neighborhood councils and discuss our mutual concerns. The FOP will request an opportunity to engage the Greater Baltimore Committee and other business leaders to hear how the lack of a crime plan is hurting the economy. Finally, the FOP will reach out to members of the City Council to schedule one on one discussions.

It’s time for action. We cannot sit back and continue to allow a surging crime rate destroy the good work our police officers and law abiding citizens have accompfished in years prior. The FOP looks forward to remaining a partner in this crime fight and telling the truth about what is and what isn’t happening inside the Baltimore Police Department.

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For Immediate Release
May 23, 2017

The allegations against the six police officers have been thoroughly litigated time and time again. All of the evidence has been presented to multiple fact finders who have decided that these officers did nothing wrong. The administrative charges are nothing more than that – they are charges. We have no reason to believe that the results of a fair trial board will be any different than the result of all 27 of the criminal counts which uniformly rejected any wrongdoing on the part of the officers.

The far more troubling truth is that the citizens of Baltimore should be outraged at their leaders. Crime is at an all time high, while arrests and convictions are at an all time low. The administrative prosecution of the officers will do nothing more than perpetuate a police force hesitant to exercise judgment when interacting with the public. The only losers in the decision to continue persecuting these five officers are the citizens of Baltimore City.

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