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With the police brutality issues exposed by Freddie Gray’s death and ensuing increase in homicides, the Baltimore Police Department are the chosen lens through which national media are looking at 21st century policing. A pair of pieces that surfaced on Thursday show that the issues are both short and long-term.
In a piece titled “Saving Baltimore From Itself,” Bloomberg’s Del Quentin Wilber spent time with Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who was brought in specifically with an eye toward the short-term. Wilber presents Davis as an officer tasked with curbing murders, and preparing officers for the potential of more protests during the trial of the officers accused in Gray’s death.
Davis is depicted reversing a tattoo policy, showing up on the beat and taking a lot of input from both police and the community.
“I need warriors and community ambassadors,” he tells a group of police at a roll call.
Despite the pressing need for change, former BPD Sgt. Michael A. Wood, Jr., presents the issues as structural in a video interview with Slate. That means they would require big police changes.
Wood takes reporters on a drive through areas of North and West Baltimore, and describes arrests as the “stats” against which his job was measured, rather than interaction.
“If I spent an hour talking to a citizen, that was viewed as an hour that I should be out getting stats,” Wood says.
Both pieces are worth a full look.
Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.
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