Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now

Reporting on Reforming

By Terp Staff

Students in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism published a 10-part investigative report detailing widespread problems in the Baltimore Police Department as it seeks to meet a federal mandate for reforms.

“Reforming the Force,” funded in part by a grant from the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, includes reporting on efforts in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s School of Social Work and UMD’s Department of Sociology, Institute for Computer Studies and Blended Reality Center to build trust between police and the public. 

Articles produced in the “Urban Affairs Reporting” class focused on topics including the funding and timing challenges preventing the sweeping changes that a federal consent degree demands of the police department, which is confronting record levels of crime. Baltimore experienced its highest homicide rate ever in 2017, when 343 people were killed. 

Other highlighted issues included outdated technology and the struggles of a civilian advisory board. Another story exposed police data so unreliable that it can’t be used to track possible racial profiling.

“Teams of students interviewed people on camera across the city to gauge residents’ reactions to police practices,” says Sandy Banisky, Abell Professor in Baltimore Journalism. “Those video stories showed how skeptical many Baltimoreans are that the department can change and how eager most of them are for a police force they can trust.”

The multimedia package of stories was distributed through the college’s Capital News Service and picked up across the mid-Atlantic.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.