SEAN GALLAGHER –
As part of the consent decree reached in the Justice Department investigation that followed the death of Freddie Gray and the ensuing unrest, an assessment team from the National Police Foundation recently completed a study taking inventory of the Baltimore Police Department’s technology infrastructure. The study meant to determine what work needs to be done in order for the department to meet the reporting and other requirements set by the decree. The study’s findings—coming just months after Baltimore’s 911 center was struck by a ransomware attack—paint a damning picture of how tech has been managed by the eighth-largest city police force in the country.
Over the past year, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has moved its IT department up and down within the organizational structure three times. The Information Technology Section has been put in charge of maintaining systems it had no hand in acquiring, because the director of ITS is not part of BPD’s executive staff. Core technologies used by the department are no longer supported by software vendors, with some over 20 years old. And the Motorola radio system used for mobile communications by the force, including 911 dispatch, will no longer be supported after this year—and there are no plans in place to replace it.
These issues are symptomatic of a larger problem the survey team noted: