As you likely know, the city of Baltimore, Maryland, has had its fair share of trying time over the past few years. Along with having a penchant for advancing and electing city officials who are beyond corrupt, the city also boasts the nation’s highest murder rate.
Now, you’d think this would incite the city’s residents to not only put trustworthy individuals in office but increase the amount of police and, therefore, arrests. But it seems neither of these things is happening.
Suppose you paid any attention to the areas 2020 elections. In that case, you will know that they put the same kind of people in charge of their city’s coffers and regulations that have always been there – Democratic to the core and only concerned with lining their own pockets. Hell, the city nearly even elected a former mayor who was literally charged and jailed for stealing money meant for disabled children. She only lost by a measly percentage.
And when it comes to Charm City’s police force, well, as you may have guessed, they have decided to go the route of many liberal cities over the past six months – taking steps to defund and drastically cut personnel. In fact, the city has officially become the first in the state to fully enact its proposed police reform bill.
However, there is a bit of good news here.
While it is definitely unfortunate that such as bill was implemented and has begun taking much-needed law enforcement officers off of the street and restricting their movements, the measure is not nearly as terrible as what was first suggested. In actuality, it seems the city did well on coming up with a plan that would be a good compromise for both sides.
The first proposed plan would have banned officers from performing chokeholds in just about any situation, forced officers to spend time “walking the beat” so as to familiarize themselves with the people, required that officers live in their patrol areas, and would have put civilians in charge of officer discipline.
Thankfully, the County Council made a few changes to this.
In the finalized version, chokeholds will be frowned upon and punishable, but only in situations when an officer’s life is not in immediate danger. As the Baltimore Sun reported, the change “compels officers to intervene if they witness excessive use of force. And it is designed to curtail the use of chokeholds by county officers, allowing that use of force only in defense against death or serious bodily injury.”
In addition, the bill ruled that making officers spend more time walking the streets of Baltimore simply was not an option. As it is, the streets, in general, are not a safe place for just about anyone in the city, let alone those wearing a badge and gun.
However, to compromise this idea, officers will have to participate in community town halls on occasion to encourage the neighborhoods to relay their concerns and questions to officers, so common goals can be worked towards.
The County also decided that giving full control of officer disciplinary actions to civilians might be such a good idea. However, they did agree that some civilian input was necessary. Two out of the twelve seats on the police disciplinary board were given to civilian members of the community.
Of course, even with so many compromises, some people still feel that more needs to be done.
Some have complained that two out twelve is simply not enough. And neither is the idea that chokeholds can still be used in some instances.
As for the local Baltimore County NAACP branch, their president, Tony Fugett, says the “The proof is in the pudding,” according to the Sun. While he is glad that moves have been in the direction of reform, only time will tell if the police department supports those moves with actual action.
He said, “You’ve checked all the boxes. Now the work has to begin, and are you really in earnest going to do the work.”
However, I do notice one thing here. None of these changes seem focused on actually solving any real crimes or problems within the city. How is that high murder rate going to drop by putting more limitations on police? It seems if the city really wanted to change their streets for the better, more police, not less, would be needed.