Sunday, December 06, 2015

Directives and Policing: the Baltimore Case

Peter Moskos does the Cop in the Hood blog (he was po-lice in Baltimore for a few years before becoming a sociologist).  In this post he writes about the "General Orders", the directives applicable to the Baltimore police.  I doubt there are many in the world who share my interest in directives, so I'll excerpt a part of his post, talking about the rules of ethical conduct included in the General Orders, which he checked of when he violated one.

I may have missed a few, but of the first 31 rules of conduct, I checked off all but 12 as violated. And I was a good cop, an honest cop. And yet in less than two years on the job I managed to violate the majority of good conduct rules. My favorite was "Section 7: Members of the department, while riding gratis on any type of public conveyance, are not permitted to be seated while other passengers are standing." This is off duty, mind you. And it doesn't say "give up your seat if the bus is full." Nope. If anybody is standing, you must stand.
 He has complaints similar to those I heard from ASCS employees back in the 60's and 70's: hard to find the relevant material.

Apparently according to the trial of Porter in Baltimore in the Freddie Gray, there was a change to the General Orders on seat belting prisoners issued 3 days before the Gray incident, included in an 80 page attachment to an email (and perhaps the Baltimore police department did not have good email).  You'd think with modern technology there'd be a better way, but no one is interested in directives.

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