Misconduct & Discipline

A robust and well-functioning accountability system in which officers are held to the highest standards of integrity is critical to BPD’s relationship with the Baltimore community, and a priority of the Department. The Consent Decree outlines specific steps the Department must take in pursuit of an internal disciplinary process that treats complainants, officers, and witnesses with respect and dignity. The BPD’s reforms include updated policies and procedures for:

  • Public Integrity Bureau (PIB)
  • Complaint intake, classification, and communication
  • PIB administrative misconduct investigations
  • Criminal misconduct investigations
  • Referral of criminal and administrative misconduct investigations to outside entities
  • Disciplinary charges
  • Disciplinary hearings
  • Imposition of discipline
  • Community-centered mediation of misconduct complaints
  • Tracking misconduct investigations
  • Transparency measures, including training and oversight

Stages of a Misconduct Investigation

Every misconduct complaint received by the Public Integrity Bureau (PIB) will pass through the following stages:

stages of a misconduct investigation

Learn More About Each Stage

Intake

1. PIB receives a complaint accusing a BPD member (the respondent) of misconduct.

2. This complaint forms the basis of a case, which is assigned a case number.

3. PIB Intake creates a digital casebook in IAPro.

Classification

1. PIB Intake examines the complaint to determine which allegations are contained within it.

2. PIB Intake classifies the allegations of the case based solely on the narrative of the complainant.

3. If, during the course of the investigation, a PIB detective uncovers additional possible misconduct, then the PIB detective adds these allegations to the case.

Assignment

1. PIB assigns the case to an investigator, who affirms they do not have any conflicts of interest.

2. If conflicts of interest emerge during the investigation, then a PIB supervisor reassigns the case to a different investigator.

Investigation

1. The investigation is completed when the investigator has collected enough evidence to determine a finding for each allegation in the case.

2. There are four possible findings for any allegation:

  • Sustained: The conduct did occur and was a violation of BPD policy. 
  • Not Sustained: BPD cannot determine whether misconduct occurred.
  • Unfounded: The conduct did not occur or was not the act of the respondent.
  • Exonerated: The conduct occurred, but it was not a violation of BPD policy.

3. A finding of “sustained” or “exonerated” require a “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof, meaning the finding is more likely true than not true. A finding of “unfounded” requires a “clear and convincing” standard of proof, meaning the evidence is “certain, plain to the understanding, and unambiguous,” and convincing.

Review

1. The PIB supervisor reviews the case for thoroughness, completeness, timeliness and that the required standard of proof is met to justify each finding.

2. The PIB supervisor passes the case up the PIB chain of command, with each level of command reviewing the findings for each allegation.

3. If no allegations are sustained, the case will be given a finding of not sustained, unfounded or exonerated, and the case is closed.

4. If any allegation is sustained, a charging document is drafted by Legal Affairs and the case and charges are presented to the Disciplinary Review Committee (DRC).

Discipline

1. The DRC reviews the findings for each case that includes a sustained allegation.

2. The DRC issues a disciplinary recommendation based on the Disciplinary Matrix, the circumstances of the case, and the respondent’s history.

3. Discipline is imposed when:  

  • Respondent accepts the recommended discipline, or
  • Respondent, through counsel, negotiates agreed discipline with the Department that is less severe than the recommended discipline, or
  • Respondent elects a hearing on the allegations, and the hearing board concludes that the respondent committed the alleged misconduct. The Police Commissioner reviews the decision and may increase or approve the final discipline recommended by the hearing board.

Read More

More details about BPD’s internal affairs procedures can be found in the PIB Internal Operations & Training Manual.

Read the manual here