Community Policing: Its a Start

Baltimore City is shifting to a new policing strategy, one more based on community policing and targeting repeat offenders. This move is a slight departure from the O'Malley "zero tolerance" strategy that focused on quality of life arrests, a strategy that I believe is horribly flawed.

The Sun summarizes the new approach:

Some aspects of the plan, such as having federal prosecutors take over serious gun cases, have been a part of both O'Malley's crime-fighting strategies and new ones that have begun to emerge.

But other initiatives - such as evolving anti-gang and gun violence reduction strategies - represent a change in direction for the Police Department. It is an ambitious undertaking that will require unprecedented cooperation between all levels of the criminal justice system to target violent offenders, a small number of whom are believed to be responsible for most serious crime.

The idea is that once a person is identified, police, prosecutors, parole and probation officers and social service workers bring the full weight of their offices to pressure offenders into giving up their criminal lifestyle.

Now, I have no clue how this new strategy will work out, but at least it shows that the city's not-so-new leaders are willing to take a chance on some new ideas.

There still appears to be no change in the drug arrest policy, and I find the idea of "scaring" a hardened criminal straight completely ridiculous. If they city wants to do interventions, they should head to the cities middle schools and improve the abysmal conditions at many of them. They should intervene before a person has a chance to get too large a taste of the criminal lifestyle.

Still, I must applaud incoming Mayor Sheila Dixon and States Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy for at least trying to move away from the zero-tolerance policing strategies that have caused the wrongful and negligent arrests of so many of our innocent citizens.

Hey, its a start.

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