'Severe Deficiencies' for Baltimore City System

By Ben Wood, Published Dec 11, 2013, 12:00am EST (Info+)

A "hodgepodge of basic query services and secretarial work” containing “severe deficiencies, including understaffing” is the conclusion of Baltimore Police Department’s strategic plan for improvement about their much bragged about Citiwatch system for “complete domain awareness.” In this note, we review the report and the key issues identified.

The Baltimore Police Department's Analytical Intelligence Section includes the Crime Analysis Unit, the Watch Center, the CitiWatch Unit, and the Comstat Unit. The report offered critiques for all of them. It says the main problem with the Crime Analysis Unit is that it is understaffed and receiving inadequate data from the other Intelligence Section Units. The unit, with six employees is understaffed by 40 employees, according to the report.

“Neither the Watch Center nor the CitiWatch Units are reaching their potential as valuable intelligence resources," the report says. "The Watch Center should function as a real-time, intelligence fusion center, while the CitiWatch should function as the Department’s lead on citywide CCTV and other electronic intelligence resources.” Citiwatch cost $10 million for the first 300 cameras and costs $1.4 million annually to operate.

Instead, staff from the Watch Center are overrun with “tasks that could be done by police cadets or clerical staff.” Baltimore wants analysts to do more analysis, not clerical work. The police department wants to hire more people who can do that clerical work.

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