It is without question that the the command staff of the present and past administrations of the Baltimore Police Department are to blame for the criminal conduct of the disbanded Gun Trace Task Force (“The cost of corruption,” Dec. 19). There was total lack of supervision of the unit. Where was a lieutenant, a captain, or even a major functioning in oversight control of such a free wheeling operation? Who did the sergeant report to? Who even conceived of such a unit? How were the officers vetted for such an independent operation? It is frankly mind boggling that such a unit was allowed to function as it did. But I will tell you why — numbers.
The only thing that was important was the arrest numbers for the unit, specifically gun and drug arrests. Numbers to put in the face of elected officials to show what a great job the agency was doing. This bean counting mindset is the name of the game, and it will remain the game because it is the easiest way for the non-imaginative upper echelon leadership of any police agency to justify their collective abnegation of trying to be creative in the arduous job of policing in a free society.
It will not change until agency leadership educates the public and elected officials as to the extreme limitations that any law enforcement agency experiences in meeting its duty to protect and serve the public. A public that only gets into a state of high dudgeon about policing when the administration of the agency, its policies, practices, and adherence to constitutional policing is under scrutiny because of some corruption expose or extreme civil rights violations.
Jim Giza, Baltimore