Another very interesting story of the developing situation in Baltimore ("26 killings in 25 days: Baltimore police search for solutions to year's lethal start," Jan. 25). It would appear that Baltimore is trying to keep pace with Chicago. As a retired police command officer myself, I have some ideas concerning what could be done to stem the tide of lawlessness in Baltimore, but that would be my opinion, so I'll keep that to myself. Baltimore has become an interesting study. The response of the city administration to Baltimore's recent riots may have had some effect on the attitude of Baltimore's criminal element when they were allowed, even somewhat encouraged, by the dismal failure of the city to react consistently and forcibly to their lawlessness. The mayor, and to a great extent the state's attorney, sent the wrong message to the criminals, and they were emboldened.
I have news for Baltimore's police commissioner, mayor and citizens: You should have been more careful for what you wished because you may just get it! I speak of the consent decree that is in the works. Now is the time to support your police, to encourage them to aggressively enforce the law, to enable them to confront potential criminals, and to stop and frisk when called for. But you will not get that! The consent decree will be even more restrictive, more hampering, more counter productive at a time when you desperately need your police to function at maximum effectiveness.
The function of the police is to enforce the law. Officers are not, nor should they be, social workers. This decree will require more administrative time, taking officers away from their primary function which is to enforce the law. They will be burdened with unnecessary paperwork, restricted as to their ability to use their police intuition and street "smarts" as it is called, to fight crime, and will be even less effective than they are now. I do not intend that as a criticism of officers. They are spread as thin as tissue paper now. Baltimore is under-policed, and now people want even more restrictions on officers? Is there no end to your stupidity? If you keep up the way that you are going, you just might catch up to Chicago.
You have one hope and that is that the nation's new attorney general is not so enamored of these consent decrees that place too much control into the hands of well-intentioned citizens who know absolutely nothing about fighting crime and the criminal thugs that are actually committing the crime. Wake up, Baltimore, allow the police to take your city back for you. With the proper backing and support, they can do it.
Robert L. Di Stefano, Abingdon