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Mayor expresses support for police chief Batts

Police strategy "works," Rawlings-Blake says

police car lights

Police car in Western District on January 14, 2014.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the spike in homicides has not diminished her faith in the police chief she appointed 16 months ago.

Asked today if her confidence in Commissioner Anthony W. Batts’ leadership has wavered, the mayor said, “no,” adding that she believes the policing strategy announced by Batts and herself in November, following a consultants’ study, “works.”

The study contained more than 150 recommendations, including improving patrol staffing and deployment, better targeting of violent repeat offenders, cooperating more with the state’s attorney’s office and enhancing police relations with the community.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young has criticized the $287,000 report for not offering new ideas and recycling advice that was commonly known.

On the heels of an uptick in homicides last year, making 2013 the most violent year in Baltimore since 2009, homicides have surged to 16 killings in the first two weeks of 2014 – more than double last year’s toll of 6.

Mayor’s Words

Here is what the mayor said this morning in response to reporters’ questions at City Hall:

Everyone of us had hoped that the year would start off better. We have had several homicides [16 as of last night] and shootings and we responded to those.

The difficulty is, in the past we’ve seen spikes and they had been localized and the efforts we put forth to increase patrols and shut down an area, like we’ve done before – that response isn’t possible. These are very targeted hits. Many of the individuals have been shot in the head. These are not accidental acts.

One of the incidents, based on preliminary feedback, is that the gentleman  was laying in wait for someone. So, this, as I’ve seen before: all hands on deck. Yes, it is a public safety issue, but it’s not simply a police issue.

I have faith that we have a strategy that works, a strategy that depends on, yes, the police doing their jobs, and, as I said, we are putting more resources out there, more feet on the street, but we aren’t ever going to police out way out of this.

It has to be in partnership with the community. We all have to participate. We all have to play a very vital role. If you see something that doesn’t look right, like a car that doesn’t belong in your neighborhood, say something.

We are working very hard to strengthen the relationships between police and the community, so we can build on those relationships  of trust and work in partnership with the community to get that information.

The residents do not want to live in communities where they feel under siege by criminals or the police. In order for us to do this, we have to continue to work together.

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  • davethesuave

    I can the stampeding footfalls of the 100,000 future city-dwellers now, clamoring to be let in. Or was it 10,000? I can’t recall.

    • Aaron Mirenzi

      fell free to express yourself but, shouldn’t comments like this be best posted on the Baltimore Sun comments section?

      • ushanellore

        I am of the opinion that the Brew is not an inappropriate venue for Dave’s comment. Yours is a clever condescension Aaron. Apparently you don’t think as well of the Sun, as you do of the Brew. I am glad the editors of the Brew allow for a wide range of comments and do not stratify comments as superior or inferior.

        • James Hunt

          In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., judge the Brew’s and the Sun’s respective comboxes by the content of their characters. By that standard, the Sun is infinitely more insane.

          ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

          “He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks: dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes, and satire.”

          http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode14.htm

          • ushanellore

            Touche.

          • davethesuave

            Well played, Hunt. I bow, or maybe I am merely picking up a random penny-farthing from the curb. Yes, that must be IT!

          • Dbaums

            “Insane” is a very fair descriptor.

        • Aaron Mirenzi

          to be clear, I don’t think well of the Sun’s comment section. Its not necessarily a comment on the paper as a whole.

          The Brew comments section is one of the only places on the internet that isn’t trolled to death with negativity, especially comments sections regarding Baltimore. I’m sensitive to comments that aren’t aimed at some higher understanding of the situation.

          • ushanellore

            The Sun’s comment section is a riot. Very partisan, raucous and wanting in grammar and plain politeness. I just think Dave’s comment is not in the same league. He brought a little levity and comic relief to a rather sad state of affairs regarding Baltimore’s crime statistics. But Baltimore is not alone in wearing crime on its bleeding sleeve. All the major metropolitan areas of the world are groaning under the burden of crime. I do see your points though.

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  • March 24, 2014

    • Last Thursday, I sent an email to the Mayor’s Office of Communications asking for some basic responsiveness: Please return our emailed queries and phone calls about stories. Please send us the same routine emails you send to other members of the media. Lately, more so than usual, they haven’t been. It’s a shame because, even [...]

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