Regarding your report that Baltimore needs an outside consultant to advise its police department, my question is: Really? ("Baltimore police seek an outside consultant," Jan. 18).

Does Baltimore really need to pay yet another consultant to advise the department about how to execute its mission? Isn't that city Police Commissioner Anthony Batts' job?

When interviewed for the commissioner's post, didn't the interviewers ask him what strategies he had in mind to reduce crime in Baltimore? And was his response "hire a consultant to tell me?"

I seriously doubt it, especially given the fact that Mr. Batts left Oakland only a year after having brought in a consultant for that city's police department.

But if Mr. Batts is determined to seek outside advice, and if the powers that be are inclined to provide the funding, my vote would be for him to hire author and TV producer David Simon or another local artist, who can offer a larger vision that embraces the school system, City Hall and local media as well as the police department.

Our local artists have a passion for Baltimore and understand its needs. They can propose a broader perspective on the role police can play to make the city a better place to live for everyone, now and in the future.

Joanne Giza, Baltimore

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