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The Howard Corbin method of policing

There has been a lot of reporting about the high murder rate in Baltimore city and the various solutions being proposed to reduce the rate (“Baltimore ending the year with 32% homicide clearance rate, one of the lowest in three decades,” Dec. 30). Let me add my name to those that have an opinion. My way should be known as the Howard Corbin method of policing.

Howard was one of the finest police detectives that I had the pleasure to dislike. I disliked him because he had a better relationship with my clients than I did. You see when I started practicing law in 1966 I did a fair amount of criminal law. The cases that I got involving murder always seemed to fall on Howard’s desk. Most were cases that were assigned to me by the court because the accused could not afford to pay for representation and there was no public defender’s office to handle those cases. I would go to the city jail to meet my client and to try to get their story, but if it was Howard’s case the client would tell me they would not talk to me until Howard gave his OK. Even when I explain that Detective Corbin was on the other side, the side that was going to put them in jail, I still needed to get Howard’s permission to talk with them.

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Howard Corbin was using community policing when it wasn’t fashionable. Howard was trusted by the community and had a reputation of being fair. So my solution to help solve the high crime rate is to find the Corbins on the force, develop the Corbins on the force and keep the Corbins on the force. Some would say that I am living in the past. That things aren’t today like they were in 1966, but maybe they should be.

Henry Belsky, Baltimore

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