Staggered by a succession of crises — civil rights violations, corruption convictions and the unsolved killing of a homicide detective — the Baltimore Police Department is closing out its dismal year with a depleted force struggling to contain soaring violent crime while restoring wavering public trust. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun video)

Recently, you published a rather lengthy article about all the various measures needed for the Baltimore City Police Department to restore the trust of the public (“As violence mounts, trust in Baltimore police wavers,” Dec. 9).

Let me make it simple for you: Baltimore police are underfunded and undertrained.

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I was on the Baltimore City Grand Jury for four months, so I have a little familiarity with the police. Did you realize that if a city police officer wants to go to a shooting range to practice with his service weapon, it has to be on his own personal time? And that the police department literally does not have a single range for officers to shoot in (the one on Dulaney Valley Road is not available to any officer who wants to go practice). That they have to pay for their own ammo and range time? Do you realize that police carry firearms as part of their job? How does this make sense?

There is no training budget for the officers. Once they graduate the academy, that is the end of their training hours. They will never receive training again.

This is not a problem just in Baltimore but all across the country. You cannot expect professional results without professional training. Somehow, funding has to be made available to pull officers out of service on a regular basis to give them ongoing training in firearm tactics and marksmanship, law, psychology, first aid, use of non lethal force, etc. Forget everything else. Forget "racial sensitivity.” Forget public relations. Forget any task force. Provide the officers with regular, high quality training and you will get high quality results.

There is also a lack of basic equipment. I spoke to officers who literally could not obtain binoculars to use during a stakeout. The lack of funds is endemic.

Funds for training and basic equipment. If you don't provide high quality ongoing training and provide the officers with the basic tools of the trade, forget everything else. You have already lost.

Avraham Sonenthal, Baltimore

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