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Baltimore Revamps Police Department After Federal Robbery Charges

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

The Baltimore Police Department is planning major changes for their officers as some of them are facing federal charges.

One change forces plainclothes officers to return to wearing police uniforms, reports Baltimore CBS Local. The order comes at the request of the Baltimore Police Commissioner Ken Davis.

“We know some of the horror stories from the past. When you go through a change and go through a shock value as we saw last week, some tough decisions have to be made,” Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said.

The plainclothes officers, also known as “knockers” or “jump-out boys,” usually wear jeans, backwards hats and tactical vests. These officers walk the streets to combat drugs and guns.

More often than not, these officers face multiple complaints from citizens, according to Davis.

“I’m not a big fan of these modified uniforms, these tactical vests, the T-shirts, the jeans, the baseball caps,” Davis told The Baltimore Sun. “I don’t think it represents our profession the way it should, and I’m doing away with it.”

He told 100 of those officers to get back into uniforms Wednesday.

The move comes after seven officers from a specialized task force face federal racketeering charges. The officers have been accused of stopping Baltimore residents and taking their money, lying on overtime pay reports and falsifying official documents. (RELATED:Judge Locks Up Disgraced BPD Officers, Ruling They Are A Danger To The Public)

Some activists have come out in favor of the decision to return officers into their uniforms.

“Now we know you are a cop, now it looks suspicious if you’re taking him around the corner,” said Erica Alston-Buck. “It lends an opportunity for us to know who the cops are.”

The department assured people that the police will still continue to fight crime in the community.

“Don’t think because they’re not in uniform they’re not going to be effective and go after you if you continue to commit crime in the city of Baltimore,” Smith said.

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