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County councilman, residents react to Baltimore’s ‘SMART Policing’ initiative

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(WEAA)— On Wednesday, Mayor Brandon Scott and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) announced new policing initiatives that will focus on the "intelligent deployment of law enforcement resources in order to more effectively combat violent crime".

Starting in July, the department will implement a series of strategies, known as SMART policing, which stands for: Strategic Management & Alternative Response Tactics.

Providing Alternatives to the BPD – Some types of calls, such as behavioral health crises or non-emergencies, do not need to be dispatched to officers. Rather, others such as social workers or third-party vendors, can handle these calls. As these programs come online, the BPD will dispatch to these alternatives directly and discontinue dispatching to officers for certain non-emergency call types.

Traffic Accident Management – Rather than dispatching an officer for non-injury or non-DUI-related traffic accidents, the city will engage a third-party vendor to respond to a portion of these calls. This pilot program is anticipated to launch this summer and will focus on accidents that don’t require a state police report or a police response.

Expanded Diversion to TRU/Online Reports – The Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) represents a smarter way to provide police services and a better way to serve the public. Certain call types – such as non-emergencies, lost property or larceny – will be fully diverted to TRU instead of providing an in-person police response. These reports may be submitted over the phone or online.

False Alarm Reduction Program – BPD is working with the City Council to explore how we can improve false alarm ordinances and work with alarm company vendors to ensure that calls for burglar alarms are only for actual emergencies. The proposed ordinance would authorize the department to discontinue an officer response to locations that have recorded five false alarms in a calendar year.

“These strategies not only help us to bring police services faster and more efficiently to residents, but it will also make our officers more available for proactive patrols and community engagement, which will help us increase visibility,” said Commissioner Michael Harrison. “This is smart, efficient policing and the direction the Department needs to move in.”

Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones and residents join Two Way Talk to share their opinion on the new initiatives. Click the audio to listen.

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Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones

Baltimore native, Micarie Kemp has always been passionate about working in the media.