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Want cops to respond quicker? Tell 911 operator gun involved, councilman says

Frustrated by a slow response from city cops?

One Baltimore City councilman has come up with a solution. Tell the 911 operator a gun is involved, even if it isn't. Practically guaranteed police will swarm to your call. True, you risk delaying police to a fellow citizen who might be in more danger, but was more honest when he called for help. But you'll get plenty of attention.

City Councilman Robert W. Curran advised residents to do this at a recent meeting in Hamilton Hills. A retired police major was in the audience, and he agreed with the advice. Upset residents say they either lie and get immediate, overwehelming response, or they're honest and wait too long for help.

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Of course, this is troublesome for many reasons. Cops -- not just one, but many -- speed to gun calls, bursting through red lights and putting themselves and others in danger. They arrive thinking they're about to confront an armed person, and they might have their guns drawn. Their entire mentality is different, and they react accordingly.

Said police union president Robert Cherry: "What if the officers think that person is armed, come guns drawn and the person only has a cell phone? The next thing you know there is a shooting."

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Curran's comments are bound to generate controversy, and debate over police resources, response times and crime. Read the full article by reporter Rebekah Brown with quotes from all sides.

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