Let’s unpack two of Dan Rodricks’ assertions in his column, ”Will new approach to Baltimore crime fight build police legitimacy?” (July 29). He applauds the volunteerism of the 50 officers who want to serve in the Baltimore Police Department’s Group Violence Reduction Unit; so do I. But my first reaction, cynical former cop that I am, is to question where these volunteers are now assigned. I will go out on a limb and say most are likely in uniform patrol. For, as a high-ranking member the agency bluntly once told me, “patrol is a dead end.” He had a point. Once out of patrol, no more 911 calls and the tedium of the daylight shift and no more crushing public scrutiny of your every move.
I do hope Mr. Rodricks’ idealistic assessment proves correct and that these officers “believe a new approach to law enforcement can reduce crime, change lives and build public confidence in their profession.” Or is the department creating a nascent Gun Trace Task Force by another name?
Where is the data that documents the assertion that it is a “relatively small number of men who cause most of the violence in a city”? Am I to understand that all gun homicides and non-fatal shootings are committed by this “small number”? If so, how small? Plus, how was this “small number” determined? Again, I hope this is also correct, but in my personal experience, hope is to often crushed by reality.
Jim Giza, Baltimore
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