Baltimore close to hiring recent firm to conduct psychological exams of police – Baltimore Sun

Two companies are finalists to conduct psychological evaluations of Baltimore police officers after the city ended a contract with a firm officials accused of providing shoddy exams final year.

According to Board of Estimates records, commerce, trade Health Services of Baltimore submitted a tender of $80,000 to conduct the psychological reviews, while LifeWork Strategies of Gaithersburg submitted a tender of $34,000.

In addition to other types of exams, the winning bidder will conduct psychological evaluations of Baltimore police recruits and as-needed “fitness for duty” evaluations of current Baltimore police. Such exams check for “mental or physical instability or incapacity.”

The department has had issues with its psychological exams in the past.

final year, the Board of Estimates — then controlled by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — voted to immediately stay a contract with a firm that conducted mental health screenings for many prospective Baltimore police officers, after determining the screenings were far shorter than required.

The city’s inspector general reported that its investigation found nearly three-quarters of officers and trainees said their pre-employment screenings with Psychology Consultants Associated of Lutherville lasted 30 minutes or less. The firm’s contract with the city required at least an hour-long screening.

In a letter to the inspector general, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis accused the firm of “cutting corners” and putting the public and the department “at risk.”

Kenneth Sachs, the firm’s president, defended the company, telling city investigators in 2015 that police evaluations “typically final approximately 45 minutes.” He said he conducts “an interview as long as it takes me to procure a clear thought of what’s going on.”

The Board of Estimates, now controlled by Mayor Catherine Pugh, is expected to vote on a recent contract in the coming weeks.

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