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Caroline and Fayette streets are shut down the morning after a man was fatally shot by police last month. The man was suspected of firing at and trying to run over officers earlier in the week.
Caroline and Fayette streets are shut down the morning after a man was fatally shot by police last month. The man was suspected of firing at and trying to run over officers earlier in the week. (Jerry Jackson)

The heated disagreement between the Fraternal Order of Police and Commissioner Michael Harrison brewing since the start of the police commissioner’s term of service makes for a rather sad commentary (“Feds and Baltimore police unveil a permanent ‘strike force’ targeting local drug gangs and foreign suppliers,” Sept. 4). It will be no easy task to resolve their differences over the consent decree. Truth be told, each of the disputing parties makes some valid points in its favor.

While the substance of the consent decree is designed to make certain that police officers do not abuse the rights of the citizenry, the continued attacks on the police officers give the appearance that the police are always the bad guys. Even if the two sides can come together and work as partners in combating the crime explosion in Baltimore, they have a horrendous job on their hands.

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The truth is that no matter how one slices it, the police department is at least 1,000 officers short of what’s needed to protect the citizens of Baltimore. And the truth is it will take years before these vacancies can be filled.

Therefore, until the career politicians in Baltimore are willing to admit this and take the decisive and bold step which the situation demands, the horrific crimes in in the city will continue. That action is to call out the National Guard.

Remember, even in a democracy, freedom is not absolute. Calling out the guard and getting them in sight as a back-up for the local patrol officers might place some limitations on our freedoms for a while (a curfew, for example). But that’s a lot better than to constantly hear, read about, or witness shots fired and people murdered. Isn’t it better to save lives and give city residents the safety they deserve?

Ralph Jaffe, Baltimore

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