Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said late today that demotions and transfers could result from the indictment of seven members of the Gun Trace Task Force.
But no heads have rolled so far.
“Changes are occurring and other changes are expected,” Smith said, as Police Commissioner Kevin Davis reviews the 45-page federal indictment, which describes flagrant lawlessness by six detectives and a sergeant at the elite unit.
Davis participated at Wednesday’s press conference where Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced the indictments.
Calling the allegations of overtime fraud “disgusting,” Davis said the practices uncovered by the federal investigation “represent a pattern that undoubtedly has existed within this organization for many, many years.”
“I can tell you,” he added, “that we’re committed to reform and we’re committed to putting any fixes in place that we need to tackle it. That’s the hard, messy work of reform.”
• Indictment highlights another Baltimore police problem – soaring overtime (3/3/17)
Davis did not offer any details about the reforms he was proposing. We specifically sought answers regarding the nearly $400,000 in overtime that the seven officers were paid last year by the department.
The indictment includes texts of wiretapped conversations in which the officers brag to each other about skipping work and filing bogus overtime.
The investigation also unearthed many instances of alleged false time reports, such as Sergeant Wayne Jenkins’ claim for a full week of overtime for “crime suppression” in the Western and Northern districts when, the indictment says, he was actually vacationing with his family in South Carolina.
Smith cited a laundry list of bureaucratic changes that Davis is considering as a result of the overtime scandal, including “audits, inspections and reviews of policies and procedures.”
Here are his answers to our questions:
1. Procedurally, who approves police overtime pay? Are officers free to submit overtime on their own by swearing to the affirmation their report is true? Are these reports then reviewed?
Supervisors approve overtime. There are systems in place, but clearly these officers circumvented those systems. A thorough review of those policies and procedures is underway.
2. Specifically, who approved and/or reviewed the overtime of the seven indicted GTTF officers?
A supervisor was part of this indictment. We are continuing to look at the evidence related to this case to see if there are administrative shortcomings that allowed them to receive overtime for unworked hours.
3. Have there been any demotions or other actions taken within the ranks by Commissioner Davis as a result of Wednesday’s indictment?
The Police Commissioner is reviewing this entire indictment. Changes are occurring and other changes are expected. That could include demotions and transfers.
4. What steps has he taken to guard against overtime fraud?
Overtime has to be signed by a supervisor and then a second supervisor. We also have a weekly report where every unit in the agency must report on overtime expenditures. Audits, inspections, reviews of policies and procedures are also forthcoming.