20 July 2013

Better Police/Community Relations? Jack Young Responds

Potential candidate for vacant Baltimore Police Training 

Academy commander position.
Suspicion and distrust of The Baltimore Police department remains high among city residents. A recent in-custody death of a man hasn't helped. For years city residents have expressed doubt about whose side are police really on.

For the last month, we've seen repeated cries and pleadings from police and city officials for increased "cooperation from the community." They say police desperately need our help in fighting out-of-control crime in Baltimore. To that, our response has been cooperation is indeed needed, but we must see the police extend a hand to the community as well.

Courtesy and professionalism, in our experience, is something sorely lacking among Baltimore Police. 

We asked Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young for input. Originally published on North Baltimore Patch, here's how it went:

Publisher A.F. James MacArthur, a "serious threat to 
public safety." 
(Larry "Celebrity Cab Driver" Wallace/Baltimore Spectator)
Dear President Young; 

With the continued call for increased community cooperation with the police, what is being done by you and your colleagues to ensure people of protection when doing this? 

Also, there's a well known, well deserved reputation in the community, that the police don't really care about us, and view [all] us (black men) as criminal suspects.

When they respond to a scene, they're often rude and condescending to all present, including potential vital witnesses. I've heard no elected official address working with the department to improve community relations from their end. 

It's a two way street sir. If citizens are being called to cooperate, the police must be required to operate at a higher level of professionalism.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young's response:

Jack Young gets it.
A F James MacArthur,

I for years have stressed to the leaders of BPD [Baltimore Police Department] the importance of customer service. And my very first conversation with Commissioner Batts centered on the absolute need to incorporate better customer service training into the teaching at the Academy. 

I have also told Commissioner Batts that I'm willing to address recruits personally and implore them to become great communicators. I know that the majority of our officers are hard-working, great individuals. 

But I've also witnessed officers being rude first-hand. I had a personal experience with this during a traffic stop years ago. I get it. It's something I talk about all the time. And whenever I encounter a police officer I make sure to let him/her know that treating people with respect (whether you think they're criminal or not) is a necessary part of their job.

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