“Such plainclothes squads have existed in a variety of capacities and names over the years. During the administration of former Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, when in 2011 Baltimore saw fewer than 200 homicides in a year for the first time since the 1980s, officials credited the plainclothes Violent Crimes Impact Division, or VCID, with driving down the number of killings by targeting repeat offenders in historically high-crime zones.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday that he is effectively ending plainclothes policing in Baltimore in the wake of the federal indictments of seven officers last week.
Known on the streets as “knockers” or “jump out boys,” the units became synonymous with policing in Baltimore. They were the officers most likely to be seen wearing tactical vests, jeans and backward hats, prowling the city for guns and drugs.
But Davis said they have also been the officers most likely to be the subject of complaints, and he said he became increasingly concerned that their style “accelerated a ‘cutting corners’ mind-set.”
On Tuesday night, he ordered 46 officers from the agency’s centralized intelligence unit back into uniformed patrol. An additional 100 officers in “operations” squads in districts were also ordered into uniform last week.