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Unwarranted FOP attacks on commissioner are damaging to city

Unwarranted FOP attacks on commissioner are damaging to city
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, center, and Governor Larry Hogan, right, at a new conference in Baltimore earlier this month. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

I want to thank David Plymyer for sharing his concerns about the unjustified public criticism of Baltimore police commissioner Michael Harrison by Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Mancuso (“Union attacks on Baltimore police commissioner damage department,” June 18). I heard Mr. Harrison speak at a public meeting several months ago and came away grateful that we have such an outstanding person leading our city's police department.

No amount of money could motivate someone to take on the thankless task of reforming the BPD. After turning around the New Orleans Police Department, Mr. Harrison would have been justified in riding out his career resting on his laurels.This man has the heart of a public servant to move to Baltimore and help lead us out of the morass we seem to have been stuck in as a city. I have more faith in him at this point than I do any other city leader. He deserves the support of all who care about the future of Baltimore.

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I have a sibling who has made a career in law enforcement in another state. I know that the great majority of police officers are hardworking and ethical. They deserve our support and appreciation for putting their lives on the line for us day after day. But not everyone has the temperament and moral grounding to be a police officer. I remember Commissioner Kevin Davis sharing in a public meeting that he had personally fired dozens of police officers whose conduct showed that they were a liability to Baltimore rather than a help.

It's sad when that happens, but it comes with the job of a police commissioner. I trust Commissioner Harrison to know where to draw the line between supporting his officers and the greater responsibility of doing what is right for our city. If we allow Commissioner Harrison to become a scapegoat for FOP grievances and our impatience to reduce the homicide rate, we will inevitably lose him. We're not going to find a better person than Mr. Harrison to lead the BPD.

Let's give him our support and, just as important, the time to turn the crime situation in Baltimore around. We didn't get where we are in a year or two and we're not going to solve our crime and policing challenges in a year or two. It's a long term effort.

Gary Pearson, Baltimore

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