Baltimore PD suffering severe staffing shortage and it's not for the reasons city leaders are alluding to

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BALTIMORE, MD - As with many large cities around the country, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is facing a staffing shortage and according to Fox 5, an insider has suggested that City Hall and BPD leaders are not sharing the exact details about what is driving the shortage. 

The police union said that BPD is struggling with officer retention as well as recruitment to fill vacancies, which are up to about 700. However, according to Ken Beyer, founder of the Harbor of Grace National Law Enforcement Wellness Center, city leaders may not be sharing all the details or being entirely truthful about why there is a widespread police staffing issue.

Because of the type of work his organization does, he has a unique perspective on what is happening as he sees hundreds of officers, including those from BPD, who come through his facility seeking help for various issues, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. He said, "We're gathering all this information and the information is consistent."

He said that officers share their concerns and speak out truthfully about why officers are leaving the department and why others won't come. These are the things City Hall and BPD will not say, according to Beyer. He added, "They have zero trust in the department. [The officers] are being asked to do things that they just can't do anymore. They're so short staffed and somebody is going to get hurt, and they all fee that way.

They don't feel safe anymore. They don't trust their government anymore. They don't trust the agency anymore. They don't the city government." Beyer expressed this all a day after some city residents voiced their own concerns over the staffing shortage at BPD. The residents even called for Maryland State Police to come in and help BPD officers' control low-level crimes, like public disturbances, rowdy crowds, and underaged drinking with fights in the streets as well as illegal dirt bikes that roar through the city streets.

Beyer said, "[The officers] all say the stress is not the stress of doing the job, it's the stress of dealing with the department." Back in August 2023, WBFF gained access to an internal memo and text messages that revealed BPD was being forced to find new ways to fill in the gaps left by the severe staffing shortages. 

Apparently in a text message to staff, Lt. Col. John Herzog, BPD's Deputy Chief of Patrols wrote, "desperate times call for desperate measures." That text allegedly went out after BPD sent a memo offering patrol officers bonuses to switch to understaffed shifts and districts. 

At the time, former FBI agent and legal expert Tyrone Powers said, "The commissioner is recognizing that these are difficult times. I think it's a desperate situation, no doubt about it. Crime doesn't stop because of a lack of number of police officers on the police department and I think the commissioner had to come up with something."

He added, "We still have a crime issue. We have a homicide issue. We have a juvenile crime issue and so he's having to be innovative and creative and also make expenditures." Speaking on behalf of BPD's rank-and-file, Police Union President Mike Mancusco said in a statement, "Our officers have been working under incredibly difficult circumstances for years and I am extremely proud of them. However, they are at a breaking point and drastic measures, in the way of large pay increases and retention bonuses, needs to happen immediately or we will lose more of them."
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