Posted by TubmanCity / on 11/17/2008 / 0 Comments

Categories: tyrone powers, Baltimore, Police



For Crisis Intervention in Baltimore City

First submitted to Mayor of Baltimore and Baltimore City Council on



Tyrone Powers, Ph.D.




It is impossible for approximately 3,700 police officers to maintain peace and tranquility in a city of 600,000 people unless there is community cooperation and involvement. The Community must be intimately involved in coming up with its own solutions and deciding its own destiny. Plans made for the community instead of with the community tend to fail because the community is not fully invested in the process. History and research clearly indicates that only the community can save the community. The Police should be a part of the community - not apart from the community. Officers are community members not soldiers controlling the community. Only this kind of thinking will yield long-term results. 

Aggressive policing yields short-term results. I liken it to what occurred during the Korean war when North Korea drove the South Koreans all the way south only to be pushed back North, as they lacked the support and network of the indigenous people. The United States and South Korea met with the same fate when they pushed the North Korean army back north to the Chinese border. In the end both settled for the 38th parallel - middle ground. Today the community of Koreans is still divided - staring across at each other and on the verge of another bloody war and possibly a nuclear war - a war to end all wars.

Unless our strategies in Baltimore involve the community - the indigenous people - 5 - 10 years from now when the current politicians have moved on to bigger and possibly better things - or have just moved on - we will end up back where we started with the violent crime problem. This is unacceptable. We must have the support of the people. They must be intimately involved. They are intelligent, strong and resilient. The community must come to see the police as an ally rather than the enemy or as a savior. Paternalistic relationships seldom yield long-term positive results. They are, in fact, somewhat oppressive and they stifle growth.

We are clear that the Criminal Justice System does not exist and cannot operate alone in the serious and sustained reduction of crime. So the problems that we face are not just problems of crime. We would be foolish to approach the problem from this narrow minded and ill-fated angle. The education system, the health system, Parks and Recreation, Economic Development and the Department of Public Works all play an important role in preventing and reducing crime. A sustained solution will take the involvement of all of these agencies along with the Community.  These agencies are the Community. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted:

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.



For Crisis Intervention in Baltimore City





POINT 1.              After the identification of high crime areas in accordance with policies and methods already developed by BPD - COMSTAT - the number of foot patrol officers in high violent crime areas should be significantly increased. Most of the officers assigned to these areas should be uniformed foot patrol officers - as opposed to increased vehicle patrol and/or increased plain-clothes operatives. In order to prevent crime there needs to be a visible and close - walking distance - police presence. (could also include Bike Patrols).


  • The Foot Patrol officers should be required to take an intensive 16-hour training course under the leadership and guidance of the Head of Baltimore City Police Training Division, to ensure that they understand the communities in which they are to be assigned. This is necessary because research indicates that most of the officers on the Baltimore City Police Department did not grow up in Baltimore nor did that grow up in an urban environment. Their perception of the environment in which they work have been given to them by some who do not understand the history of Baltimore or the socialization process in urban America.


  • During the course of this 16 hour training session, officers should have a round table meeting with community, business and clerical leaders from the community in which the increased patrols will occur to ensure a meeting of minds and an understanding of police and community methods and objectives.


This also provides an excellent opportunity for the leaders to become personally familiar with the officers and vice versa. The community invests in the officers and the officers become stakeholders with those that they have developed relationships with.


  • Due to staffing problems and concerns a relationship can be developed between the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore City Police that allow for joint foot patrol in problem areas. The State of Maryland and the Governor's Office could help fund this due to the nationally recognized State of Emergency in Baltimore City. Money could also come from the Health Department and Federal Health programs since the United States government has designated crime as a Health issue. Baltimore City Cadets and Maryland State Police Cadets can be utilized to walk and work with officers and Troopers. Maryland State Troopers would attend the same 16-hour training program with officers under Lt. Colonel Franklin - who prior to joining the Baltimore City Police Department was a Maryland State Trooper. This could also help with the proper training and acclimation and acculturation process of both Baltimore City police officers and Maryland State Troopers.


The development of this working relationship between the Baltimore City Police, the Community and the Maryland State Police is similar to the goals and objectives of the Homeland Security Office in that it connects the stakeholders in a common cause for the peace, tranquility, security and growth of all citizens of Baltimore City and the State of Maryland.  The citizens are intimately involved in the process and in creating and implementing solutions to solve the problems they face on a day-to-day basis and to protect and defend their offspring. The working relationship between agencies will help to remove the competitiveness, vanity and petty rivalry that has plagued policing for some time and has led to the inability of all agencies to successfully meet their stated objectives. The events of September 11, 2002 provide lessons for Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. Now more than ever a unified effort is required.


The agencies heads could get together with the Police Commissioner and Director of the Baltimore City Police Academy within the next 7 days and Point 1 could and should be implemented immediately.



POINT 2.       Create and/or Coordinate and install Community Patrols, providing community members with proper training and rudimentary identification and communication policing tasks - fully equipping Community Patrol Teams with radios with direct lines of communication to police officers on foot patrol and to dispatchers.


  • Leaders for these Community Teams should attend training at the Baltimore City Police Academy for a period to be determined by the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department in coordination with his Director of Training. Clergy should be intimately involved utilizing, Deacons, Missionaries, etc. as part of these Community Teams. The interaction between these various stakeholders will ensure a fair and just approach to policing Baltimore City. Clergy could utilize this as an opportunity to directly impact the communities in which their churches are located. They could "cast down their buckets where they are."


  • Community Team members could be offered immediate internships with the Police Department and its various units. The Community Teams could then hold weekly forums to hear and address the immediate concerns of the citizens of the impacted areas. A member from the foot patrol unit of the area, a representative of the State's Attorney Office, a representative from Juvenile Justice, and a representative from Public Works should always be present.


  • Community Team members along with foot patrol officers and cadets could be given the task of checking the residences of the elderly of the community to ensure that their steps and others areas around their residences are clear and clean, and to see if they require escorts to and from local grocery stores.


  • These Community Teams could also be properly trained and available to respond to disasters such as in the event of a terrorist attack. Thus, their funding could be part of monies provided under the Homeland Security Act and again the Community will become more intimately involved in preventing and solving the problems that plague it - working in coordination with the police that will then see the community as a significant part of the solution in a number of areas.


  • A prime example of Community members reinvested in the Community is noted upon observing Israel Cason's "I Can't, We Can" program and Brother Ellsworth Johnson Bey's FOXO program. Also the Community Teams should include members of the Nation of Islam as they are respected in the community for their intelligence, knowledge and discipline. And for their interest in the preservation and progress of Black Baltimore and thus all of Baltimore. All of these groups/organizations have gained and maintains the trust of the community. They should immediately be considered as part of Community Patrol Teams.



Point 2 could be designed and implemented within the next 30 days, as Baltimore is

currently in a nationally recognized State of Emergency. The Governor and

could call the State Legislature into a Special Session if more monies are

necessary or call upon the Federal Government. Community Teams could be in place

and operating within the next 60 days if the training period meets the requirements set by

the Commissioner and his Director of Training.



POINT 3.          Immediately reinstate television late-night (11:00 PM) Public Service Announcements, "It is eleven O'clock, do you know where your children are?"


  • The Media can play a significant role in reducing crime by getting involved with these poignant reminders to parents. Psychiatrists have advised us that what is introduced to the mind over and over again becomes real. Numerous studies have indicated that television plays a significant role and has a significant impact on what we think, know and on how we act. Such announcements on ALL local stations will consistently remind parents and other concerned relatives to check on the whereabouts of children. Consistently playing this PSA will engage more parents in the process and give others guidance as to a respectable curfew. Consistently played - this will have an impact.


  • The Media could immediately enlist the help of shock trauma doctors and other health care personnel to talk about the end results of violent crime on the PSAs. They could ask young people to "come join them as doctors rather joining them as patients." The media can be extremely innovative and effective when properly enlisted and engaged. They are stakeholders in Baltimore City.


  • Billboards in the City of Baltimore should immediately carry the message of peace. A threat about what the police will do does not help but tend to create a challenge for young and rebellious youth. Billboards that utilized Dr. King's statement such as "Either we live together as brothers, or we perish together as fools." Or Malcolm X statement that "It is bad to hate someone else, but it is much worst to hate yourself," will have a much greater impact. The City could fund this or the churches could donate money to ensure that all of the billboards in the city relay positive messages rather than negative images and alcohol related messages. Each church could adopt a Billboard - this is already done when churches want to announce events. The churches could control the messages delivered to our youth. Again, what is introduced to the mind over and over again becomes real.


Point 3 could be implemented immediately. The Media can immediately become involved in helping in crime reduction - in being a part of the solution - rather than simply reporting on crime. This PSA program could and would lead to other media initiated methods for reducing crime - via preventive methods - understanding that whatever is introduced to the mind over and over again becomes real.



POINT 4.       Baltimore City Council and State legislators need to review or put pressure on the politically appointed State Liquor Board to immediately review the liquor licenses of all Baltimore City bars and liquor stores. A goal of dramatically reducing the number of liquor licenses in Baltimore City  should be immediately embarked upon.  National statistics indicate that alcoholism is the secondary diagnosis in 70% of suicides, 80% of homicides, 90% of stabbings, and 70% of all violent crimes. Half of those convicted of homicide in Baltimore City used alcohol just before their crime. Eighty-percent of violent crime occurs within a five-block radius of Open-Air Drug Markets. In Baltimore City the majority of Open-Air Drug markets are adjacent to or near liquor store outlets.


  • There are more than 1,600 liquor stores in the 84-plus square miles of Baltimore City.
  • There are more liquor stores in Baltimore City than in 26 of the 50 states that make up the United States of America.
  • In Chicago, Illinois the strategy in Point 4 has led to the closing of over 27 liquor stores that helped lead to a 60% reduction in the murder rate in the areas where the stores were closed.


  • Ø Immediately liquor licenses need to be reviewed and reduced with no more liquor licenses being issued in Baltimore City.


  • Ø Liquor store' owners need to be made responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of the area around their stores and to ensure that no loitering takes place within 500 ft. of their stores.



With the proper willpower and seriousness necessary to dramatically reduce Crime in Baltimore City - parts of Point 4 could be implemented immediately. The 60% drop in murders in the areas where this policy have been implemented should be enough incentive for politicians that care to reduce crime to act brazenly and bravely on this point. 



POINT 5.       The Baltimore City Police Department must immediately initiate a serious and rigorous campaign to reconnect the police with the community and regain the respect and trust of the community. In Charleston, South Carolina Chief Reuben Greenberg indicates that the police have to think differently; they must know that it is as important to prevent a crime, as it is to solve one and that even more important is having the respect of the people. Greenberg believes that community respect for the police can be more powerful than their fear of the criminal. Thus the cooperation between the Police and the Community becomes stronger. Police Chief Rubin Greenberg initiated what he called Victim Oriented Policing - the key was to protect possible victims - not to concentrate on arrest or arrest statistics. In fact an arrest was an indication of the failure of preventive policing not an accolade or a feather in the cap of the Chief. He noted that the first thing necessary to prevent crime was for the police to gain the public's trust. Greenberg ordered that:


  • All citizens must be treated with respect.


  • Charleston South Carolina police officers using profanity towards citizens would be administratively disciplined.
  • Every one arrested must be told what they are being arrested for at the time of the arrest and the citizens gathered around the arrest scene should be told why the suspect is being arrested. His feeling was that most law-abiding citizens would applaud the arrest of a suspected drug dealer or violent criminal. To Greenberg, there was no logical reason to yell at the people - and ignore their requests for information. He noted that police could actively seek out relatives of the arrestee and explain to them what was going to happen next with the arrested individual.


  • A report is required for any use of force by police officers whether a citizen files a complaint or not. The report must note what force was used and why that force was necessary. Greenberg noted that he found that once a citizen filed a complaint against an officer there was five to six other reports against the same officer that were never filed.  This system allows problem officers to be identified, given help or removed in order to develop a stronger relationship between the police and the community.


  • Greenberg noted that Police must create an environment in which the law abiding citizen is treated differently from the criminal element and that the system must ensure that law abiding citizens are not arrested and treated like the criminal element. Greenberg noted that only a few criminals commit most of the crime and the worst thing that the police department could do is to alienate the police from the community by treating all community members as part of the problem. He indicated that his language is consistently conciliatory towards the community and he consciously stays away from paternalism.


As a result of these and other victim oriented policies in a 15-year period after Greenberg's arrival there was only two police shootings of suspects. Prior to these policies Charleston averaged 4-5 police shootings of suspects a year. In 15 years of this type of policing only one officer has been wounded. None was killed. Prior to these policies numerous officers were injured and several were killed in the line of duty. Further white police officers were able to do solo foot patrol in Black projects without incident and with the community helping the police identify problems and make arrests of violent criminals!


The Commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department could immediately implement POINT 5 and the strategies created and implemented by Chief Reuben Greenberg. These strategies would bring greater cooperation between the police and the community in the prevention of crime and the identification, arrest and conviction of suspects. There must be strong element of trust in order for this relationship to work.




POINT 6.       The Baltimore City Police Department must look into the connection between pharmaceutical companies and the increasing potency of drugs in Baltimore.


  • Police in New Zealand last year announced that they are convinced that there is a clear link between the increased potency of drugs that have been around for decades and pharmaceutical operations and scientists. They liken the problem to Russian scientist that found it profitable to sell their nuclear weapon making ability on the free market after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They noted that although the drug ecstasy has been around since the sixties it has just become deadly and they do not believe that it is street level dealers that are coming up with the "extra strength" formulas. They have launched investigations into some companies and are working with others to develop antibodies and other addiction reduction medicines. Some companies are also helping them to track down some wayward employees that are involved in the multi-trillion-drug market by selling potent formulas.


  • In Baltimore City a new breed of marijuana has hit the streets that is laced with a compound that seems to turn smokers instantly violent. The Philadelphia Police Department Drug Squad has been investigating this chemical and trying to trace its source. They are also educating the community to this new breed of marijuana, as most of the consumers are unaware of that the marijuana that they purchased has been laced with a nicotine-like addicting substance. The drug dealers/chemists are creating their own addicted market. They are fighting aback against drug treatment programs in the same fashion that cigarette companies have fought back against the nicotine treatment industry by moving their wares overseas to third world countries where prohibitions do not exist.


  • Baltimore City Police should immediately contact and visit Philadelphia Police Department to look into this new tactic and drug problem. Baltimore Police and others should immediately began educating the citizens of Baltimore about this deadly and dangerous marijuana. Baltimore City Police need to investigate this and other drug trends in order to prevent the infusion of new and more potent drugs onto the streets of Baltimore City. Again, the media and Church sponsored billboards could be a great asset in this effort.



The Commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department could immediately implement POINT 6 . Contact could be immediately made with Philadelphia Police Department Drug Unit and Baltimore City Health Department could immediately begin work with the pharmaceutical companies.




POINT 7.                   Create/Expand the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Commission to include Carmen Russo, Baltimore City Schools Superintendent; LaMont Flannigan, Baltimore City Jail; Baltimore City Police Commissioner; Baltimore City Police Department Director of Training; Patricia Jessemy, Baltimore City State Attorney, the Mayor of Baltimore City, the City Council President, and several community leaders to include clergy. Make the sessions mandatory and open these sessions to representatives from each city community associations. As with the Baltimore City Police Department COMSTAT meetings have each member discuss the work they are engaged in to dramatically reduce crime.



  • Baltimore City is in a state of crises. Human life is being destroyed daily. There must immediately be full cooperation between the Mayor's office, the State's Attorney office, the Baltimore City Detention Center and the Judiciary. Chief Judge Robert Bell may be the best mediator for this devastating division and counterproductive division that is contributing greatly to the crime crisis in Baltimore City. Baltimore City cannot hope to dramatically and effectively reduce crime with the current bloodbath and "Bloods v. Crips" mentality that currently seem to exist between the Criminal Justice agencies.


  • The Baltimore City States Attorney's Office must be intimately involved in the training process of Baltimore City Police officers in order to avoid the unacceptable errors and constitutional transgressions that lead to the impossibility of successfully prosecuting many significant cases. It is unacceptable to have so many law abiding citizens falsely arrested or to have non law abiding citizens set free due to mistakes and errors in both the Police Department and in the State's Attorney office.


  • The Mayor of Baltimore City must meet with and privately voice his concerns to the Judiciary and the States Attorney office in order that a unified front and a collective effort can be made to work with the community to reduce crime.
  • Baltimore City Police Department must resolve the issues of discrimination that were identified by the current Mayor during his tenure in City Council and that have led to a police department that is divided. The Director of Training and the Director of Recruitment must work together to ensure the hiring of candidates that can successfully complete an academically and physically rigorous training program.


  • The Director of Training must be given all of the necessary tools and autonomy to produce successful and competent police officers. Training is the key concept in effective policing. Without sound training policing will be ineffective. The Training division is the most important unit and the foundation of the Police Department.


  • The Police Department must be able to operate without undue influence and direction from the Fraternal Order of Police, which has a strained relationship with the majority of the citizens of Baltimore City.


  • The Baltimore City Council must work diligently to oversee the bridging of the divided and almost dysfunctional criminal justice system in Baltimore City.


  • The States Attorney office must help the community by vigorously prosecuting Slumlords. Proper funding must immediately be provided.




TRANSITIONAL INTERVENTION: Community and City Development



POINT 8.          Economic Development and Education is at the core of the crime problem. The Business community should be immediately enlisted in helping to rewrite the curriculum for public schools and to provide internships, equipment and mentoring for students. Part of the cost for doing business in Baltimore must be assisting in the continued development of Baltimore's most precious commodity -its children. The Baltimore City Council should ensure that from this day forward every business decision/contract is based in part on the question of how will it help the young people of Baltimore to develop. This question should be required to be answered as part of any request for the building of properties in Baltimore. Economic development is meaningless unless it involves human development.  The work of the recently elected Mayor Bloomberg of New York City is a prime example of how effective this kind of initiative could be. Bloomberg initiatives should be studied and duplicated where applicable.

  • Students need to know that education is relevant to their success in order to stay in school and remain focused. Beginning in the Fall 2002-2003 school year all Baltimore City school Principals should be provided with complete control and responsibility to develop meaningful curriculum with some oversight from North Avenue. Curriculum should include economic and entrepreneurship skills. Internships that teach students how to prepare for interviews, write business plans, apply for loans and grants and manage businesses must be included so that students do not simply view themselves as permanent employees and see the benefit of community economic development.


  • Organizations such as "I Can't We Can" and FOXO, Partners in Progress, etc. must immediately be allowed to address students in organized and required assemblies during the school year. Baltimore City Schools and other community associations should review FOXO curriculum for adoption. Other Drug prevention and crime prevention programs have failed to dramatically reduce crime or to make an impact on students and other youth of Baltimore City. Sincere principals and school administrators should not ignore these proven programs in these days of crisis.


  • The Thornton Commission Report must be immediately be fully funded - not just passed - in its entirety as it regards Baltimore City. If not Baltimore City and its associated Community Organizations, the Mayor of Baltimore, the Baltimore City Council, Civil Rights Organizations, political representatives, and Legal Aid Organizations should immediately initiate a lawsuit or another lawsuit against the State of Maryland as the Maryland State Constitution requires the state to provide for an excellent education of all of its students. No court in Maryland or in the United States of America could honestly and earnestly rule that the State of Maryland is providing a sound education to the young people of Baltimore City as required by its Constitution. If the Thornton Commission funding for Baltimore City is not granted in its entirety it would be misfeasance on the part of Baltimore City representatives not to file the aforementioned lawsuit. Its time for another Brown v. the Board of Education, et. al. decision.


  • The extraordinary Head Start Program should be immediately expanded and made available to all Baltimore City Public School Students. This program has been so successful that it is counterproductive to the education and elevation of students for it not to be expanded. Baltimore is in a crisis condition. Drastic measures are taken and implemented immediately during times of crises. Now is the time.



POINT 9                           Implement drug treatment on request or on demand and HIV education throughout the City of Baltimore. Successful programs such as "I Can't, We Can," that have not only changed lives but changed communities, must immediately be rewarded with more help and funding in order to deal with the tremendous drug problem in Baltimore City. 



POINT 10                  State-of-the-art drug treatment and rehabilitation centers should be funded. These centers should help with addictions and the development of job skills.           Baltimore City must cease and desist the closing of recreational facilities and libraries. A city that can justify 1,600 liquor establishments and two relatively new sports arenas should be able to justify a Baltimore Sports Complex - with homework and computer rooms - for young people that is open and staffed 24 hrs a day. Prince George's County was awarded such a complex upon the building of its new Washington Football team Stadium.


  • Carla Hayden and her extraordinary efforts at Enoch Pratt Free Library should be properly recognized and supported by Baltimore City.


  • Baltimore City should renovate abandoned and boarded up houses and turn them into Communiversities that are open 24 hours a day. Community groups could contribute books and computers to these centers so that students will have ready access in order to complete homework assignments in their communities and with concerned community members. Young people afraid to be on the street at night or afraid to be home would have a safe haven to go to.


The current crises in crime - violent crime - in Baltimore City did not come about over night. Unfortunately, neither will it be resolved over night. But the implementation of the above listed strategies will immediately assist in dramatically reducing crime in Baltimore City.



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