Seven years after black police officers filed suit against the city of Annapolis, an alderman says the police department has made enough progress in hiring and promoting minorities that a federal consent decree will be allowed to expire at the end of 1991.
The decree was extended three times over the years, but a fourth extension will not be needed, said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-5, and Detective George Kelley, head of the Black Officers Association, who held a joint news conference yesterday.
"The original consent decree was to last for three years," Snowden said. "However, it took more than seven years for the goals to be accomplished."
As a result of the decree, the City Council adopted hiring goals calling for 25 percent of the officers to be black and 16 percent to be women.
Today, 26 black officers make up more than 23 percent of the department's 112 officers. That compares with nine black officers out of 100 on the police force in 1984.
Gains still have to be made in the hiring of women, Snowden said. Today, 13 women account for more than 11 percent of the force. The 13 include four black women. In 1984, women made up 7 percent.
"There's still more progress that has to be made," Kelley said. "I'm happy with what's going on at this time."
The Black Officers Association filed suit against the city in 1984, resulting in a court settlement that required Annapolis to hire and promote more blacks and women in the police department.
Snowden praised the city's progress.
"I am proud of the accomplishments we have made," he said. "Frankly, the fact that former Police Chief John Schmitt is no longer leading the police department, and the fact that Deputy ++ Chief Joseph Johnson is now on board, I am even more confident that the progress we have made will continue."
Schmitt resigned last year amid charges of racism and mismanagement. He denied the accusations.
Johnson, a native of Eastport in Annapolis, who spent 23 years with the Baltimore police department, was hired as deputy chief last March.