Only 32 Baltimore Police officers pass latest sergeant exam | 10/11/2018 | Jessica Anderson
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When the list of new Baltimore Police sergeants is released at the end of the month, it will be far shorter than in the past.

Only 32 of the 273 officers who took the sergeant’s test passed, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources, which oversees the exam.

Passing - Rate - Percent - Exams - Years

The passing rate of 11.7 percent is far lower than the last three sergeant exams, which have been given every two years. The passing rate was over 60 percent in 2016 and 50 percent in 2012 and 2014.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Lt. Gene Ryan, outgoing president of the city’s police union. “It’s a serious problem.”

James - Bentley - Spokesman - Mayor - Catherine

James Bentley, a spokesman for Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, said in an email Thursday that “the Department of Human Resources is still working to assess the anomaly of this year’s pass rate.”

The low passing rate comes as the city has been struggling to boost recruitment to fill some 500 officer vacancies, and after a recent staffing study conducted as part of the city’s federal consent decree found the department suffers from “a severe shortage of sergeants.”

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The department is “short across the board,” Bentley said. “This is a piece of it.”

Ryan said he’s never heard of such a low passage rate in his 36 years with the department. He said the number of officers who passed this year “isn’t enough to get us through two years.”

Shortage - Sergeants - Police - Department - Baltimore

He said the shortage of sergeants is especially troubling for a police department like Baltimore, which has many young officers and high turnover.

It’s also the latest setback for a department that is in the midst of its deadliest 30-day stretch since 2015, with 43 people killed in the past month. The department also has seen a number of high-profile departures, including a top commander who resigned last week after slamming a chair...
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