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Baltimore needs more police

Why can't City Council understand the need for more police?

I found the article, "More patrols set for nights" (Oct. 26), to be fascinating. Two individuals mentioned in the article stand out. A lay person gets it while a politician does not.

Gene Michael Addis, a private citizen and general manager at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, has no problem in asserting that the Baltimore City Police are understaffed, which makes it very difficult for officers to respond to "hot-button issues" across Baltimore's 92 square miles. His remarks about having a sense of safety and security being as much a perception as a reality rings very true. So congratulations to Mr. Addis. He gets it.

In contrast, long time career politician and member of the Baltimore City Council, Mary Pat Clarke, did not have the courage to say point blank the city is in need of at least 500 additional police officers. Rather, she skirted the issue with a lot of double talk. On the one hand, she expressed the need for a couple of hundred officers to be paid for by the Baltimore City Police Department, but then goes on to say the city should find a way to pay for additional positions. In addition, she supports the Downtown Partnership guides working with the police department.

What needs to be cited, however, is the fact that the Downtown Partnership's guides do not have arrest power, nor do they carry weapons.

In actuality, this quick fix approach is just tokenism and does not solve the crime problem. Baltimore's citizens need the real thing — that is at least 500 additional police officers. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

Ralph Jaffe, Baltimore

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