Today, members of the law enforcement community from all over the nation joined with members of the Baltimore County citizen community to honor the life and sacrifice of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio. In doing so, the question on the lips of almost everyone in attendance was “How could this have happened?” Sadly, there is an answer to that question, and in an article on May 23 in The Baltimore Sun (“Juvenile services secretary says Baltimore County officer's killing shows youth justice system failed”), that is clearly apparent.
There are fingers being pointed at everyone involved, by everyone involved, and yes, there are disappointments aplenty. The failure, however, lies with State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her continuing inability to understand the importance that her office plays in combating crime in Baltimore City.
The safety of our citizens is dependent on a relationship between the Police Department and the judiciary, including Ms. Mosby and her staff, a relationship that honors the common goal of providing for the public protection. For too long now, that relationship has been strained by Ms. Mosby’s apparent “catch and release” philosophy of criminal enforcement.
Dawnta Harris is the latest on a long list of those who have posed an obvious danger to the community but who have, for whatever reason, been released pending trial or in many instances have not even stood trial. Whether or not the home detention system used to hinder his movement was equipped with a GPS locator is not the failure in this sad saga. The fact that he was sent home pending trial at all is the true failure here. Mr. Harris has a history of criminal activity and escape. He undeniably presented a danger to our citizens and should have been detained accordingly. It was the responsibility of Ms. Mosby, as the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, to ensure this outcome. She did not, and we are angry that a brilliant young woman who dedicated her life to public service is now gone from us.
The members of Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 have lost a Sister in Blue, and, because of Ms. Mosbys continuing failures, the citizens of Baltimore have lost the sense of security that they so well deserve.
Lt. Gene Ryan, Baltimore
The writer is president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3.