A Snapshot of Policing in Baltimore County 2014-2018

Law enforcement officers across the country have faced intense public scrutiny about officer conduct and the use of force by officers on the citizens they serve.  National and local events have gained widespread attention on both traditional and social media creating a perception that police misconduct is a common occurrence and is often ignored or denied by those in the law enforcement profession.  Over the past five years, the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4 has gathered information from statistics readily available to the public that dispel that perception yet garner little or no attention. As you can see from the statistics below, the members of the Baltimore County Police Department are professional and provide a great service to the citizens of Baltimore County.

 

Year County Population Calls for Service Assaults on Officers Arrests Uses of Force Citizen Complaints
2014 824,000 572,289   659 26,989   305   89
2015 824,000 582,894   660 25,651   300   85
2016 826,000 606,851   609 24,534   252   71
2017 831,000 709,627   581 23,584   208   52
2018 831,000 668,820 627 21,564 242 43
3,140,481 3,136 122,322 1,307 340

 

County Population
The county population has steadily grown since 2013. 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 2014 – 2018 was 3,140,481. The 5-year time period shows a steady increase. The average number of calls for service was 628,096.

Arrests
In Baltimore County between 2014 and 2018 there were a total of 122,322 arrests made.  That equates to an average of 24,464 arrests per year in a county where the population has grown to 831,000.  The number of arrests has consistently trended downward since 2014 (20%) while the population has steadily grown. In 2014 Baltimore County officers arrested someone on every 21.2 calls for service. In 2018 officers arrested someone on every 31.0 calls for service.

Uses of Force by Officers
In the Baltimore County Police Department, a “use of force” report must be completed when an officer uses any execution of a physical act to control a person, overcome resistance, and/or defend oneself or another.  The force may entail the use of body parts, issued departmental equipment, or an instrument of necessity.

In the five years indicated above, Baltimore County officers used force (excluding firearms) a total of 1,307 times.  From 2014-2018 there has been a 20.6% decrease in uses of force by officers.  Additionally, the statistics show that force was only used in 1 out of 2,206 calls for service or  00.0416% of all calls for service and 1.068% in all arrests.

Internal Affairs statistics show that officers were involved in combat shootings 27 times during the same time period averaging about 5.26 per year.  This equates to the use of a firearm in 00.00082% of all calls for service and in 00.021% of all arrests.

Assaults on Officers
During the 5-year time period officers reported being assaulted 3,136 times averaging 627.2 assaults per year. (There has been 1 line of duty death) While assaults on officers have remained steady, the numbers show that officers in Baltimore County are 2.39 times more likely to be assaulted by a citizen than use force against a citizen. (Note: Use of force by officers is down 20% during the same time period)

Citizen Complaints
According to the Internal Affairs Section in the Baltimore County Police Department there were 340 complaints from citizens about officer misconduct, including uses of force.  That equates to an average of 68 per year and has also been steadily trending downward (51%). Over the entire time period there was an average of 1 citizen complaint for every 9,236 calls for service. The best year was 2018 with 1 citizen complaint for every 15,553 calls for service.

Administrative Complaints
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 433 complaints initiated from within the department from 2014-2018.  That equates to an average of 86 per year and 56% of all Internal Affairs investigations. There were actually 93 more complaints generated from within the police department than from citizens

Closing
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.

 

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