Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced plans to launch a 35-person civilian investigative corps to help Baltimore police detectives solve low-level crimes.
Scott announced the $5 million program as part of a $4 billion proposed spending plan for the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), The Baltimore Sun reported.
Baltimore City Budget Director Bob Cenname said the mayor’s proposal called for eliminating 30 vacant sworn police officer positions and replacing them with civilian investigators.
Cenname said the civilians would help detectives and patrol officers in completing investigations by tracking down leads and searching databases, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The mayor and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison rolled out the plan to stretch resources, WBAL reported.
“It helps us with speed and it helps us with frequency,” Commissioner Harrison explained. “We can get to cases faster and we can take on more cases at the same time by adding this capacity.”
“Speed and frequency helps us arrive at deterring crime. It helps us arrive at apprehending people who commit crime and holding them accountable,” he added.
Scott said his soon-to-be-launched civilian detective corps specialists will investigate low-level property crimes, work cold cases, conduct background checks, do intelligence gathering, and manage internal affairs matters for the police department, WBAL reported.
“This is about allowing our sworn folks be focused on what our residents want them to be focused on, and that’s the violence that is happening in the city,” the mayor said. “Allowing the civilians to do administrative functions, we can then focus our wonderful sworn folks out on the streets of Baltimore, which we know will have an impact.”
Members of the civilian detective corps will received training on state and local laws as well as BPD policies, according to WBAL.
Scott said they would be taught basic investigative techniques and tactics.
The civilian investigators will start at $49,000 a year and BPD said it would begin advertising the new positions in May, WBAL reported.
Sworn officers start at just $60,000 under the newly-signed contract with the city, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“These investigative specialists would be used broadly throughout the agency, and they could be used as a national model for how law enforcement agencies build capacity on a parallel path to sworn officers,” Commissioner Harrison said.