Curran stands by statements on 911 callers and guns

Baltimore City Councilman Robert W. Curran defended encouraging residents to tell 911 operators a gun is involved, even if it isn't, to speed police response. But he conceded Thursday that he "may have used a poor choice of words."

At a news conference outside City Hall, Curran said he had given residents that advice during a community meeting in Northeast Baltimore, based on a conversation he had with a former city police commissioner.

In an interview Wednesday, Curran said he told the group: "If you have a situation where your residents feel threatened and they need immediate police service, tell them there is a gun involved."

On Thursday, he told reporters: "Out of frustration, I may have made a misstatement."

Curran said he stood by his remarks and that his goal was not to encourage dishonesty. "In no way do I want to imply that the public should lie to the Police Department," he said.

He said he wanted to draw attention to the lack of resources in the Northeast District. "My intent was to bring this issue to a head," Curran said. "My intent was to put the discussion on the table."

Curran provided documentation of correspondence he has had with the mayor's office since 2004, requesting additional officers in what is called Sector 2, a 1.7-square-mile policing sector in Northeast Baltimore.

"If I get resources, then I get the results," he said, noting his comments have sparked a debate about staffing and slow response time.

Police on Wednesday advised residents to be truthful when calling 911 to avoid having officers speed unnecessarily to calls, which could put them and others in danger. Such calls, police also said, could prevent a prompt response to other emergency calls.

Lester Davis, a spokesman for City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, said Young was pleased that Curran is now telling people to be honest with 911 operators.

"The council president believes that whenever residents place a call to police, they need to be 100 percent truthful in relaying what the situation is," Davis said. "Whatever the circumstances are, that's how they should relay it to the dispatcher."

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the size of the Northeast Baltimore policing area known as Sector 2. The Sun regrets the error.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad