I just read the editorial referring to the actions of the new police commissioner including The Sun’s advice as to how he should restructure the agency (“Baltimore Police Department needs a shake-up — but don’t push out the good cops,” April 24). The fact that Michael Harrison was hired to do the job indicates that there is confidence in his ability to reform and re-form the department. The very first thing that should be done is for the commissioner to sit down with city leaders including legitimate special interests such as representatives of the business community and also the clergy. The purpose of this meeting should be to reach a consensus as to what can be accomplished immediately with existing resources. The meeting should also result in the establishment of some future goals, mutually accepted and agreed upon goals that the commissioner should achieve and his timetable for doing so.
Once these “realistic” goals have been set, there should emerge a plan of action that will be assessed periodically as to the incremental achievement of those previously agreed upon goals. It is imperative that the new commissioner agrees upon the goals that have been set and the timetable for their ultimate achievement. At that time, the commissioner should have the prerogative to make any changes in structure, policy, procedure or command staff that he feels necessary to achieve the goals upon which he has agreed. There should be no external interference with the commissioner, no outside pressure from anyone including the administration and/or any of those other interested parties. There should be no lobbying for special treatment or to have the commissioner deviate (against his better judgment) from the plan that was generated by consensus, finalized and accepted for his implementation.
Now the commissioner must produce and his feet held to the fire to accomplish those goals to which he consented and joined. If he is successful, his plan obviously worked; if not, his plan then was a failure. This man was hired to do a very complicated and difficult job, he should be trusted and allowed to do it and without external pressure or influence. I wish him well and sincerely hope that he is successful.
Robert Di Stefano, Abingdon
The writer is a retired major in the Baltimore City Police Department.