Baltimore hires new lawyers ahead of police union talks

Abandoned buildings stand past members of the Baltimore Police Department near the scene of the shooting death of Baltimore Police detective Sean Suiter in Baltimore, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. The manhunt for Suiter's killer has entered its third day, and has included searching countless vacant buildings in the particularly troubled area of West Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baltimore had hired new lawyers ahead of a new round of contract talks with the city's police union.

The Baltimore Sun reports city solicitor Andre Davis says he hopes lawyers from the Philadelphia firm Ballard Spahr will reinvigorate negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police that are scheduled to resume Friday.

More than 95 percent of the union's members rejected a proposed deal in October. Officers have not received cost-of-living raises since the previous contract expired in June 2016.

A major point of contention is officers' current four-day, 10-hour shift schedule. City officials say that system, implemented in 2015, leaves the department understaffed, while union leaders say it gives the officers more free days.

Union president Lt. Gene Ryan says the stalling of contract talks has lowered officers' morale.

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