Dixon Considers Merging City and School Police Forces

Interesting. While I agree that this move would help to streamline things, and possibly increase organization among school police, I must disagree with it. Just read this quote from Baltimore Police spokesman Matt Jablow:

"If it's going to happen, this is the perfect time for it to happen," Jablow said. "He can integrate them as well as anyone. Commissioner Hamm has always said that there's a lot of very good criminal intelligence to be gained from our schools. It would be of tremendous advantage to us."

The emphasis is mine.

Is that the point of school police, to gather criminal intelligence on minors? I thought it was to protect our students, teachers, and school workers. This whole thing rubs me the wrong way. School is a place you go to learn, not to be monitored by police. What message does this send to our students? What message does it send to our teachers and parents? Is it really necessary to use public schools as intelligence gathering locations?

I am all for the integration if it is simply a structural change. However, I fear this change has more sinister motives. The Baltimore Police see this as just another chance to get some good intelligence. What's next? How far will we go to root out "gang activity"? How long until we see daily arrests in our school hallways? How long until our schools resemble jails or halfway houses? This is a move in the wrong direction, both for Baltimore City schools and for Baltimore's policing strategy as a whole.

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