The recent influx of citizen unrest due to a rash of officer-related homicides has left the American citizenry skeptical of the greater good police departments bring to communities nationwide, especially that of traditionally violent neighborhoods that tend to have a majority of minority residents.
And while these atrocious acts of injustice have left our leaders clueless as to how to effectively move forward the very constituencies they are elected to represent, it leaves an obvious void of ineffective leadership that has largely silenced the intellectual voices of opposition that continues to grow with each case of injustice. As an 81-year old public servant who has spent more than half of my life serving the interests of one constituency or another, I have found that constructive criticism coupled with innovative intuitiveness lead to a more productive society.
So while it's safe to say that those who are upset with the recent comments made by a clearly frustrated police commissioner ("Officer shot in West Baltimore," Dec. 15) are understandably concerned about his intent, I would caution those looking to score some cheap political points by publicly criticizing his words to instead work with him and a department concerned about the safety of the public, including the very men and women who suit up each and every day to protect and serve our communities. All life is valuable!
In Baltimore, we seem to have gotten away from the very programs and policies that had led to our city being referred to as "Charm City" instead of the home of "The Wire." It makes me question when our elected leaders will be ready to say "enough is enough" and begin to implement some innovative old-school programs such as the "Police Boys Club of Baltimore" which led to a friendly and lasting relationship of the police department and communities of color. Or the community policing program known as the Auxiliary Police that was a civilian defense organization that saw business owners and community leaders alike patrolling their own neighborhoods and was one of the most effective instruments in aiding in the preservation of law and order throughout Baltimore.
As the old adage goes, history tends to repeat itself, so we need to realize that the episodes of today are merely a mirror of yesterday. How we decide to move forward into tomorrow should be the greater concern. We cannot move our city, state or country forward with a pessimistic movement filled with race-baiters and political opportunists who stoke the fire of emotional dissent but do nothing to ensure a safer future for our children. Let's work together to grow a better Baltimore by taking it back to the old-school approach which will ultimately move Maryland forward and inspire a nation of young leaders thirsty for change.
Frank M. Conaway Sr., Baltimore
The writer is clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court.