Police red tape snarls fight against crimeSeveral articles...

the Forum

February 12, 1993

Police red tape snarls fight against crime

Several articles and letters about the management of the Baltimore City police have appeared in your newspaper. Based on a recent experience, I have a suggestion about how better use might be made of the department's limited resources.

A friend of mine who lives in Baltimore is from a foreign country. She lost her passport and was required by her government to report the loss to our police. She requested my help because her understanding of English is limited.

I looked up the telephone number for the administrative offices of the Baltimore police department and called to explain the problem. I was told the loss should be reported at the police station in her neighborhood, the Northern District.

To make certain of the right procedure, I called the Northern District and was told we could come to the station to make the report.

We drove to the Northern District police station and were told to go home and call 911, "like you should have done in the first place."

I explained that I thought 911 was only for emergencies and that I had been told we could make the report at the station.

The reply was that the people who answer the telephones "don't know what they're talking about" and that the only way we could speak to an officer was to go home and call the 911 number.

We drove home, called 911 and two uniformed policemen who could have been patrolling the streets spent time completing a form which could have been handled by a clerk.

If reports like this were handled by clerks it would free officers on patrol for more demanding work and relieve some of the pressure on the 911 lines.

Nancy Schultz

Baltimore

Working together

I'm writing this letter in response to the recent visits by City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and Mayor Kurt Schmoke to (( the 734 Lexington Terrace building.

I think that's just great. Maybe now the African-Americans living there will get something done with Clarke and Schmoke seeing those horrible living conditions first-hand, not just hearing about them.

I don't live down there, in the projects. But I think it's just insane how the tenants are coming together to fight for a common goal and not settling for less.

This should be a lesson to us all. In joining together, we can get something done in a positive way. This is the way Dr. Martin Luther King would have done it. Remember, sisters and brothers, "Violence brings forth violence." Let's keep the dream alive.

James Hatcher

Baltimore

Handicapped tags

Jill Pollhammer (letter, Jan. 29) should know that not everyone eligible for handicapped tags has a limp.

My mother-in-law had them for the family car, to make it easier for her aging husband to get a convenient parking space. She did not limp, but she had several heart attacks and found it hard to walk long distances.

My best friend has terrible asthma. If she had to park in Siberia with me on Saturday shopping trips, she'd be gasping for breath. But she doesn't limp. I think she deserves her tags, her doctor thinks she deserves them and the Motor Vehicle Administration agrees.

As for the parents of handicapped infants, while I would devoutly wish that the parents only use that space when they are transporting the child, I can also understand the all-too-human impulse to make best use of limited time to grab a convenient space.

My pity for the constraints on their time would outweigh my indignation at their apparent abuse of their handicapped parking tags.

If anything, most of us notice that far more spaces for handicapped parking exists than ever get used.

Eva Whitley

Westminster

Family matters

You recent editorials concerning the proposed Family Court mistakenly leave the impression that the individual judges of the circuit courts across the state give short shrift to family, domestic and juvenile cases.

Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases involve the very fabric and future of our society -- children and their families.

Circuit court judges will tell you that generally speaking they agonize more over custody cases than any other matter that comes before them.

Often judges will remark that they spend more time and devote more judicial resources deciding cases involving custody and the break-up of families than any other type of case. Divorce cases involving property require judges to exercise the full measure of judicial discretion in providing equitable disposition.

Possible improvements to any system should always be openly discussed, and the different ways these cases are handled across the state should be compared.

But it should be made clear that the judges who actually hear these difficult and emotional cases are giving their full time and consideration to the parties and the issues and will continue to do so.

Vincent E. Ferretti Jr.

Rockville

The writer is a Sixth Circuit Court judge.

Gee, thanks, Barry

In regards to "Homicide," I had doubts and questions while watching the maneuvers of the crew when they were in Dickeyville on Nov. 9.

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