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Create a pipeline with Baltimore high schools to fill police and state prison jobs | READER COMMENTARY

Police trainee Diamond Sykes salutes as she stands with her fellow class members as they prepare to graduate from the Baltimore Police Academy last year.
Police trainee Diamond Sykes salutes as she stands with her fellow class members as they prepare to graduate from the Baltimore Police Academy last year.(Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Sun)

Every few months we read about how the Baltimore Police Department is still short 300 to 500 officers (Baltimore Police hiring woes continue, alarming federal judge overseeing mandated reform efforts," Jan. 22) Now we’re also reading that Maryland’s prisons are short 1,000 staff members (Think Baltimore police overtime is out of control? In Maryland’s understaffed prison system overtime spikes to $129 million, Jan. 17).

Yet, the solutions are always the same. Streamline the process, start a new online recruitment campaign and recruit from other districts. How about we fill these gaps and provide actual career opportunities to Baltimore high school students by developing coursework in policing and corrections that creates a pipeline into the police cadet academy or state corrections department upon graduation?

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This could be easily funded through reductions in overtime and is a strategy that seems like a more effective and lasting short and long-term solution to both staffing issues. If my letter seems familiar it’s because I’ve written about the subject a few times previously. Unfortunately, while I receive a lot of positive response from readers, foundations and other press, still no response or action from the Baltimore City Police Department or the Mayor’s office through this or other channels.

Wishing the city the best of luck with the old recruitment methods, but it’s time for some new and bigger ideas.

Gregg Nass, Baltimore

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

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