Readers Respond

Police can investigate murders but they can’t prevent them | READER COMMENTARY

Walking outside Shock Trauma, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott extends his arm around Don Snider with the U. S. Marshals. Two officers with the multi-jurisdictional Warrant Apprehension Task Force were shot while attempting to serve a warrant on a 32-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, for a homicide that occurred on West Lanvale Street in Baltimore on June 19. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

As a former sergeant in the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit, I believe that, based on my 12 years of experience, that police cannot prevent murders in Baltimore. The department is currently about 500 officers short, but I would contend that even if it was at full strength, the officers would not be able to prevent murders.

As reported in the media and backed by crime statistics, Baltimore is one of the most dangerous cities in the nation (”As more youth come into the crosshairs of Baltimore’s street shootings, city leaders and activists seek solutions,” July 21). The clearance rate of arrests for homicides in Baltimore is very low. I am not knocking the homicide detectives, as I know firsthand how tough their job is. My knock is on the citizens of Baltimore who tolerate the slaughter of people on a daily basis and do not get involved. I blame the politicians, prosecutors, clergy and judges who seem to tolerate the mayhem.


Let me give you a few examples of why I say police cannot prevent murders. Picture a citizen walking down a city street and a bad guy with a gun appears, robs him and shoots him. You can’t prevent that moment. Here’s another example: A drug dealer crosses into another drug dealer’s territory and is shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. You can’t prevent that one either. There’s a dispute in a home between a man and a woman that results in the man shooting the woman. Again, not preventable. A driver cuts off another vehicle, name-calling follows and then someone gets shot. A bad guy walks into a doctor’s office and shoots the doctor for drugs. Neither of these scenarios can’t be prevented. I could go on with other examples, but I’m sure you get my point.

We can, however, arrest these murderers, but only if the citizens of Baltimore get involved. They need to help the police solve murders and get the bad guys off our streets and in prison where they belong.


Every day in the media, we hear about plans that the city’s mayor and the police commissioner have but very few details ever come out about these plans. The best plan is to let the police do their job and stop handcuffing them.

That’s the answer. Let the police do their job. Have the citizens get involved. And finally, hold the politicians, judges and prosecutors accountable.

Dick Ellwood, Parkville

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.