The more things change, the more they stay the same. Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis and violence plagued cities in America suffering from violence must shed their cognitive biases. For these cities, community policing alone isn’t the answer. Chiefs and politicians love the image created by the community policing model, but citizens are still being slaughtered. When I was a young narcotics detective, Baltimore tried community policing under Commissioner Frazier. Now no one recalls the ridiculously high homicide and shooting numbers during that period.
This approach is not rational and defies logic. Thus the term cognitive biases. Why are politicians and local police leaders ignoring the flashing warning lights of high homicide and shooting rates? Will community policing address this?
Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney could implement a community policing model in Mayberry, because they didn’t have open air drug markets, violent gangs, stick-up boys, and so many unsolved homicides and shootings, that all one can do is pray for peace. My model turbocharges criminal intelligence gathering at all levels of the underworld, decreases stat driven arrests, lets patrol officers patrol, and gets the most violent criminals off the streets. While at the same time this model assisted overburdened detectives in closing open homicides, shootings, robberies and other crimes. With the help of our federal law enforcement partners and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, we built solid cases for the United States Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore City State’s Attorneys Office to prosecute. This put a troubled city several steps ahead of the violence cycle, while helping communities get back on track.
Citizens are dying like lab rats, while behind closed doors some police leaders, academics, consultants and politicians are making cozy big money deals with their alma maters, friends or hopeful future business partners. Recently Baltimore paid Bill Bratton, of NYPD fame, over $250,000 for a plan that had no impact. Newly appointed BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis and his alma mater Johns Hopkins have obtained $500,000 in grant funding to conduct studies and help with the crime fight. So that’s $750,000 and things have not gotten better.
In late 2007, the Dixon administration fully understood my model and made me the youngest Deputy Commissioner in the history of the Baltimore Police Department. My model was fully deployed in a single day. It didn’t cost the city a penny and we never released a written plan. Baltimore’s most violent communities were immediately impacted. Fast forward to 2011, Baltimore reached a historic drop to under 200 homicides. Since that time, the department has been in a state of flux.
I grew up with the violence of west Baltimore, I’ve lost friends to gun violence. We were on the right track and continued to trend in the right direction, until reform and community policing were prioritized over saving lives. Now the crime fight has been turned into a university lab project. With the introduction of new leadership and new strategies, all the great work has been undermined. I see no exigency or accountability for the spiking homicide and shooting rates. I won’t sit silently any longer. Get over these cognitive biases, get back to effective policing and utilize my model. The numbers speak for themselves – it worked!
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