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Chief says Baltimore police ‘understaffed across the board’

BALTIMORE (AP) — As Baltimore’s troubled police department awaits a new commissioner, its interim leader says the agency is “understaffed across the board.”

Gary Tuggle’s remarks come on the heels of data obtained by The Baltimore Sun showing the department has failed to fill around 500 vacancies, and suffered a net loss of 36 sworn officers. Mayor Catherine Pugh on Wednesday defended police recruiting efforts, saying the net loss represented an improvement.

But the newspaper reports Tuggle says police are struggling to catch up after years of underinvestment. Along with patrol understaffing, commanders say they don’t have enough detectives to investigate shootings, robberies and homicides.

Police will stop performing pre-employment background investigations for other city agencies for six months to focus on vetting police recruits. A new patrol schedule also launched this week.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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