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NEWS ANALYSIS

Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police lodge says the city doesn't need more cops - it needs to better compensate those it has.

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Yesterday, the union released a statement from president Robert F. Cherry saying Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's plan to hire 300 officers "will put scores of inexperienced officers on the street and will not fix Baltimore's crime problem."

Rawlings-Blake's plan has, in my view, been distorted during this campaign. The city lost a significant amount of officers to retirements and Rawlings-Blake's plan largely holds the line and pledges to fill those spots, given an alternative of cutting them as budget casualties. Yet the political discourse from her opponents in the mayor's race would lead one to believe that Rawlings-Blake added positions to the police budget. It suits the political goals of both the mayor and her opponents: For Rawlings-Blake, it gives voters the impression that she is beefing up the department's ranks to make the city safer, which her challengers can attack as unnecessary and a misplaced priority as rec centers and youth job programs are cut.

Cherry's position is not new - the union has long advocated for better compensation for its current members. But he's making clear that the union is fine with the police department thinning its ranks if it will result in better conditions for the officers already on the payroll.

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