Baltimore police union questions proposal for tougher officer misconduct penalties

BALTIMORE – The president of the union the represents Baltimore City police officers has denounced plans by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to seek legislation that would make it easier to punish police officers who break the law.

FOP Lodge #3 President Gene Ryan released a statement Tuesday saying while his union does not stand for officers who misuse or abuse their sworn powers they should not have their constitutionally protected rights limited.

“To suggest that we, as a profession, should become a separate class of citizenry, with a separate set of laws by which we are governed, is unconscionable,” said Ryan in a statement. “The current Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights does not exist to allow ‘bad’ cops to escape punishment.

“In fact, the exact opposite is true. It exists to guarantee that, as a profession, we are not alienated from our rights as citizens. We would suggest that those in political office who are so quick to entertain such ideas give a thought to the possibility of a separate set of laws for elected officials.

“Having said that, we advise that Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #3 stands ready, with our Brothers and Sisters around the State of Maryland, to combat any attempt to disrupt the LEOBR.”

This comes a day after Rawlings-Blake held a news conference to announce her legislative plans.
She is calling on the General Assembly to change the law, to allow the police commissioner to suspend — without pay — an officer charged with a misdemeanor that could lead to more than a year in jail that happened while the officer is on duty.

“What we’ve seen around the country is while there is a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women of police departments around the country, there is a growing frustration and intolerance to the good cops putting up with the people they know shouldn’t be on the street,” said Rawlings-Blake, during Monday’s news conference.