Baltimore, Uncategorized

Up In Smoke

As police agencies across America struggle to find new officers and retain experienced officers, Baltimore’s Commissioner Kevin Davis pushed to lower the marijuana usage requirements. The NAACP supported the move and even patted themselves on the back for the lowering of standards of officers that would primarily serve black communities. What’s the motive? This is about minority hiring and staffing! This is not about getting the best officers, regardless of color, those that will soon be making split second life or death decisions.
Let’s nip this in the bud…. please tell me how the applicant with marijuana usage came into possession of the joint or bong. Don’t be naive, not every marijuana user got a joint passed to them at a frat party. Most in Baltimore, intentionally went to certain locations and purchased the drug at corners or blocks (“strips”) known for their marijuana dealers with good quality ganja. This means interaction with drug dealers and potentially a relationship was created with the dealer. How can we ensure that these officers will be objective?
The strength of marijuana has evolved over the years. In my early career, the smell was distinct, while later in my career, the smell would give me a headache. Let’s not forget that joints could be laced with additives like PCP (Love Boat) to crack (“Woolie blunt”), unbeknownst to the applicant! This isn’t your grandmother’s marijuana grown in your backyard.
Commissioner Davis isn’t from Baltimore and may not know this, but one of the most violent organizations Baltimore’s west side encountered was a marijuana organization. The name of their marijuana was “Arizona” and the leaders of the organization not only sold drugs, but put out murder contracts carried out by killers. The investigation lead by FAST detective Mike Coleman and ATF’s great Group Supervisor (now Supervisor At Charge) Steve Gerido, led to one of the most significant violence cases in Baltimore’s history.
I’m not happy or applauding the lowering of hiring standards and you shouldn’t either. It’s just the opposite. Commissioner Davis and Mayor Pugh should be tackling the issue of retaining experienced officers. Officers who met the standard and serve the public, making life or death decisions. Yet another bad decision for Baltimore.

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