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Violence Surges as Baltimore Police Officers Feel Hesitant

May 11, 2015  | 

As the number of shootings and homicides has surged in Baltimore, some police officers say they feel hesitant on the job under intense public scrutiny and in the wake of criminal charges against six officers in the Freddie Gray case, reports the Baltimore Sun.

State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby's decision last week to charge the officers has stoked strong opinions across the country — including praise from those who want accountability and derision from some legal experts.

But perhaps the most jarring effect has been on the Baltimore Police Department.

"In 29 years, I've gone through some bad times, but I've never seen it this bad," said Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for black Baltimore police officers. Officers "feel as though the state's attorney will hang them out to dry."

Several officers said in interviews they are concerned crime could spike as officers are hesitant to do their jobs, and criminals sense opportunity. Lt. Kenneth Butler, a shift commander in the Southern District, said his officers are expressing reluctance to go after crime.

City Councilman Brandon M. Scott said he doesn't believe officers are treading too cautiously on the job, but he acknowledged that the stress from protests, rioting and federal investigations is wearing on police, as is fatigue for officers who worked 14- and 15-hour days several days in a row during the unrest.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

132&Bush @ 5/12/2015 12:17 PM

I would sit on my hands and catch blue flu. Now would be the time to take any kind of retirement deal. To bad oil boom is bust now. Better working your arr off in North Dakota than putting up with this stuff. Now would be time to consider relocation to southern/western states.

Tom Ret @ 5/12/2015 4:42 PM

There are some cities where it is not worth living in or working for, especially as a police officer, and Baltimore would be one. The lives of its officers seem to matter little to the leadership there who would rather identify with the rioters. The mayor and state attorney will reap what they sow as crime will increase as the officers naturally will be less inclined to get involved, leave or retire and bad guys are more embolden. Council Scott doesn't understand human nature apparently.

kevCopAz @ 5/12/2015 5:21 PM

Sorry this has to be this way, but you get (public) what you deserve! You chastise the PD for every move they make and you expect them them to do the job? Im with them, take the report after the crime, that way no worries, no problems, and you make your retirement. Just wait , cops looking the other way and not doing on view enforcement will reach a record and the public deserves it. Screw them, we need to start thinking about ourselves.

Jon Retired LEO @ 5/12/2015 7:14 PM

I have to agree with 132&Bush. I would pull my freight no matter how may years I had on the job. Its not worth your health to try to please these people who want their cake and eat it too.

Sgt. Mike @ 5/13/2015 7:42 AM

I’ve been on the street for almost 20 years. I’ve survived 2 shootings and countless complaints from D-bags who want to turn the focus on me rather than face justice. We all know the risks of this life, and we all know it’s not easy out there. The political opportunists and headhunters have always been there and always will be. It’s a pendulum and right now it’s swinging to the far anti-cop side of its travel, which is very uncomfortable for us. This career is not for everyone and if some of you feel like it’s time to go, then I wish you God’s speed.

For the rest of us, we don’t do this job for fame or fortune. We don’t expect anyone to like us and usually don’t even get a “thank you” for the risks we take. “Public opinion” is just another way of saying “mob rule.” We are society’s watchmen; we stand against the ebb and flow of immorality and corruption. We do this for those people who cannot stand on their own in spite of any risk or cost.

I don’t like where these events

Sgt. Mike @ 5/13/2015 9:48 AM

I don’t like where these events are taking our nation any more than the rest of you, but I’m not willing to quit or stand idle while it degenerates. We need men and women who are willing to stand in the face of unpopularity, of hostility, of unjustifiable condemnation, and even at the risk of their very lives if that’s what is required to protect the often silent majority.

Our nation might have an angry mob who would do us wrong, but we also have good people, families, and whole communities who appreciate and count on us.

I’m staying on mission come hell or high water. I hope you will too.

krisnlc @ 5/13/2015 4:00 PM

the Freddy Grey thing is already under investigation. who knows what happened there, and it looks bad. not sure how it will end up. But that has wierd stuff all around it, how did he end up like that? we may never know. However, if you are going to be a police officer you need to stay on top of your job and react to situations accordingly. Typically your training is good and should preppare you for most situations. It is sad that officers are hesitating...hope it is not because you are not doubting your training and motto "protect and serve"...if that is the case, it is time to get out of the job and do something else. The many wierd situations happening in Baltimore and other cities is obviously what is resulting in this..but i have to say if you are doing your job right all the time, then why would you hesitate now...the situations in question right now in the different areas have had some questionable decisions....

Tom Ret @ 5/14/2015 4:53 PM

I would guess the reason officers may be hesitating in Baltimore and other cities is because they can see that simply following their training and putting forth a good faith effort may not be good enough. Officer Wilson is a prime example of someone who handled the situation according to his training and policy yet his world and that of his family has been turned upside down. The nature of police work will thrust the officer into many situations that he/she has no control over. Certain segments of the population along with our national leadership are noticeably anti police which wasn't as prevalent years ago. The officers today must have this in the back of their minds as they handle more people who are on drugs, have pre existing medical problems, mentals or people who want to kill them. The city's leadership and people who make up the city's population will most assuredly make a difference in how hard the job of policing will be.

Tone @ 5/31/2015 11:57 PM

If the world is watching I guess I'll be hesitant too! I'll echo Krisnlc...If you're doing your job right why hesitate now? LE who follow the same laws they swore to protect shouldn't be hesitant. Baltimore is being watched closely...

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