Over the past couple of years’ law enforcement agencies across the country have faced intense public scrutiny about officer conduct and the use of force by officers on the citizens they serve. Recent events both nationally and local have gained widespread attention on both traditional and social media. This has created this firestorm of rhetoric that police officers in America are out of control, running rampant throughout the community, with no regard for citizen rights and no mechanism to discipline officers for misconduct. As you can see from the statistics below, this is simply not accurate for the members of the Baltimore County Police Department.
|Year||County Population||Calls for Service||Assaults on Officers||Arrests||Uses of Force||Citizen Complaints|
The county population has steadily grown since 2010 with an increase of approximately 19,000 (2%) over the next five (5) years. Demographics available on the county website showed that in 2010 the population was 64% white, 26% African American, 4% Hispanic, 6% other.
Calls for Service
The number of calls for service shown includes all calls to 911, non-emergency calls and traffic stops. This does not take into account the numerous undocumented interactions with citizens that officers have every day.
Calls for service for the time period shown have shown a steady decline. The average number of calls for service was 583,572. Every year since 2013 has been under the average.
In Baltimore County between 2010 and 2015 there were a total of 173,918 arrests made. That equates to an average of 28,986 arrests per year in a county where the population has grown to 824,000. Every year since 2011 has been under the average. The number of arrests has consistently trended downward since 2010 (24%) while the population has steadily grown.
Uses of Force by Officers
In the Baltimore County Police Department, a “use of force” report must be completed when an officer uses force involving Department issued equipment, personal equipment, an instrument of necessity (excluding firearms) and/or when injuries (visible or non-visible) have occurred to an individual that indicate medical treatment may be necessary.
In the six years indicated above, Baltimore County officers used force (excluding firearms) a total of 1,983 times. From 2012-2015 there has been a 20% decrease in uses of force by officers. Additionally, the statistics show that force was only used in 00.056633% of all calls for service and 01.14% in all arrests.
Internal Affairs statistics show that officers were involved in combat shootings 37 times during the same time period averaging about 6.1 per year. This equates to the use of a firearm in 00.00123% of all calls for service and in 00.02127% of all arrests.
Assaults on Officers
During the 6-year time period officers reported being assaulted 4,721 times averaging 786.8 assaults per year. (There has been 1 line of duty death) While assaults on officers have been trending downward (32%), the numbers show that officers in Baltimore County are 2.3 times more likely to be assaulted by a citizen than use force against a citizen.
According to the Internal Affairs Section in the Baltimore County Police Department there were 661 complaints from citizens about officer misconduct, including uses of force. That equates to an average of 110 per year and has also been steadily trending downward (33.5%). Over the entire time period there was an average of 1 citizen complaint for every 5,297 calls for service. The best year was 2015 with 1 citizen complaint for every 6,857 calls for service.
An Administrative complaint is defined as a complaint filed by members internally within the police department. According to the Internal Affairs Section in the Baltimore County Police Department there were 579 complaints initiated from within the department from 2010-2015. That equates to an average of 96.5 per year and 46.6% of all Internal Affairs investigations.
The style and manner of policing is constantly evolving. Moving forward with the challenges in policing, law enforcement is adapting a style of policing that encourages community partnership. We must still focus on crime because there will always be incidents that need to be investigated and violent criminals that need to be arrested. But we need to do both and we need to do them better and together.
There is a very select group of citizens in a part of Maryland that has a mistrust of their police department and that is unfortunate. That is certainly not the case in Baltimore County. We enjoy an excellent working relationship with the community we serve.
Second Vice President
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4