About BPD Watch

BPD Watch is an effort to improve civilian oversight of the Baltimore Police Department. We use public and crowdsourced data to build databases, digital galleries, and profiles of individual law enforcement officers from BPD that consolidate information including names, photographs, mentions in news articles, court records, salaries, and citizen reports.

BPD Watch is a volunteer-run project sponsored by Open Justice Baltimore, a Fusion Partnerships program. If you would like to get involved in this or other data transparency projects, visit our Volunteer page or email us at info@bpdwatch.com.

This project is a response to the lack of transparency and justice in policing. The public should have the right to know which officers are patrolling their neighborhoods and watching their communities. When officers abuse their positions of power, they should be able to be easily identified and held accountable.

BPD Watch is based on the OpenOversight project. OpenOversight is the first project of its kind in the United States, and was first implemented in Chicago in October 2016. OpenOversight currently includes officers from departments across the country, including Berkeley, Oakland, New York, ICE, and more.

OpenOversight is released as free and open source software so others can launch similar law enforcement accountability projects in their own cities. The software is available for download and collaborative development on GitHub.

Facts and Figures about the Baltimore Police Department

Last summer, the Baltimore Police Department told the Baltimore Sun that it had about one-sixth fewer officers than it needed to adequately patrol the city’s streets. But according to Governing magazine, Baltimore’s 2,962-strong law enforcement force means that there are 47.4 officers for every 10,000 residents — a police-to-population rate that’s higher than any other city in the country besides Washington, DC. Nationwide, cities with populations over 50,000 average just 17 officers per 10,000 residents, meaning that Baltimore has more than twice the police presence of most cities.

Source: Baltimore Fishbowl, May 12, 2014

Such beatings, in which the victims are most often African-Americans, carry a hefty cost. They can poison relationships between police and the community, limiting cooperation in the fight against crime, the mayor and police officials say. They also divert money in the city budget — the $5.7 million in taxpayer funds paid out since January 2011 would cover the price of a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds. And that doesn’t count the $5.8 million spent by the city on legal fees to defend these claims brought against police.

Source: Baltimore Sun, September 28, 2014

Oakland allocated the highest share of its general fund to policing in 2017 at 41 percent and $242.5 million. Chicago was close behind with 39.6 percent ($1.46 billion) while Minneapolis set aside 35.8 percent ($163.2 billion). New York had the highest police budget in FY 2017 at $4.89 billion, though this only equates to 8.2 percent of the city's general fund. Spending per person on policing comes to $772 in Baltimore, $581 in New York, $537 in Chicago and $381 in Los Angeles.

Source: Forbes, August 7, 2017