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Police reform in Maryland is long overdue | READER COMMENTARY

Demonstrators make their way from Annapolis District Court to Lawyer's Mall in a Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Reform march to demand police reform. March 4, 2021. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun).
Demonstrators make their way from Annapolis District Court to Lawyer's Mall in a Maryland Coalition for Justice & Police Reform march to demand police reform. March 4, 2021. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun). (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

Letter writer Kathleen Kelly has expressed her outrage at the passing of the much needed police reform bills by the Maryland legislature (”Proposed police reforms go soft on criminals,” March 5). She suggests that we should be sympathetic with police who must deal with the “dregs of society.” Is the letter writer including the police officer charged with child pornography (”Baltimore SWAT officer from Harford County faces federal child pornography charges,” March 1) or the long-term police officer who has been charged with multiple counts of arson and attempted murder in multiple jurisdictions (”Ex-Laurel police chief charged with 12 arsons, targeting officials he disagreed with, police say,” March 3)?

Has the letter writer forgotten all the police officers charged with corruption who are currently serving sentences in federal prisons (”Ex-Baltimore police officer convicted in Gun Trace Task Force fallout said he cooperated with investigations,” Jan. 19)? Have we forgotten all the Maryland politicians who have been charged and sentenced over many years?

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Police officers are to provide service. How is this possible if they refer to the communities they are paid to protect as being populated by the “dregs of society?” Drug addiction and crime are now present in many neighborhoods across the state and nation. Is the former president who incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in at least five deaths, included in the “dregs of society?”

Police reform is long overdue in our state and country. If the legislation goes too far or does not go far enough, it can be tweaked and improved upon during future legislative sessions. I strongly suggest that any young people who are considering a career in law enforcement ponder this career choice especially if they view large segments of our communities as being populated by the “dregs of society” as this is not an appropriate career choice for them.

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We need to hold law enforcement to a very high standard. We need to hire officers who are intellectually and emotionally up to the job. We need police officers who respect our fellow citizens and we need to support those officers who are working hard to keep our communities safe.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

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