Proven police technologyBaltimore City Councilman Martin...

the Forum

May 12, 1993

Proven police technology

Baltimore City Councilman Martin O'Malley was quoted in The Evening Sun (April 29) as saying, "For the [Baltimore police] department to march in here and say, 'We are going to have new technology', I think is absolutely ludicrous.

Let's get funded vacancies filled first before we start looking at new technology."

On the surface this comment sounds reasonable enough. But before we condemn new technology, one most examine the situation a little closer to expose the flaws in this thinking.

The so-called "new" technology has been in use successfully for several years in Baltimore County and other jurisdictions which have crime rates a lot lower than Baltimore City.

The technology is actually an in-car computer which allows the patrol officer to access much needed information which right now is not always available while the officer is on the street.

The most obvious example is checks of suspects for outstanding warrants. The system in place now for warrant checks is antiquated and inaccurate.

The officer must call over the radio to the desk sergeant and request a warrant check. The desk sergeant must check a handwritten card file for any warrants.

The card file at each district contains only warrants pertaining to addresses of wanted persons living in that district. So if a warrant is outstanding for a person from one of the other nine districts in the city, the officer probably would not find out about it.

The computer link in the patrol car would allow the officer to access the warrant control data base for the entire city.

Foot officers cannot prevent crime. They can only force criminals to move their activity to another part of the neighborhood.

The backbone of the police department is the motorized patrol officer.

The extra money in the police budget should be used to increase the morale of the existing officers by paying them their previously negotiated raises and purchasing new technology to aid them in their pursuit of criminals.

Why hire more police if you can't even pay them what was promised?

Eric R. Martin

Perry Hall

Friends in need

Unemployed is a dirty word. Even harder to swallow is the 7 percent rate of unemployment.

The future job outlook is dismal, with the temporary employment industry surging. I have been out of permanent work for a good year.

Putting my experiences in perspective, I'd advise the use of all job search methods.

It's important to know how to look for work. It's really a skill in and of itself. You have to know yourself, what you want to do and what's available in the market.

With the odds stacked up against each applicant, I feel job hunting should be a team effort and not a competition.

I believe strongly in networking. Networking is a communication system developed through contact with teachers, friends, relatives, strangers and acquaintances within a profession or field of work.

Networking has a three-fold purpose. It's a great way to acquire leads for job prospects, very resourceful in information gathering for targeting a specific industry and it can be useful in obtaining personal references.

The idea of networking is not to pressure people to find a job for you but to learn ways of approaching a specific job market, possibly forming friendships for the long-term process . . .

Laurie Cohen

Reisterstown

Library loss

Having just lost my county branch library, I am especially saddened to read that my childhood community's library is again in peril of closing.

Many hours of my youth were spent in the Gardenville branch of the Pratt library. My siblings and friends would take leisurely walks with me to the charming structure on bustling Belair Road. I'd check out as many books as my arms could bear, devour them in just a few days, and return for as many more.

Our school, St. Anthony's, was just around the corner from the Gardenville Pratt. Librarian visits were a familiar and welcome occurrence.

She would bring a bag of books, new arrivals and treasured old favorites.

She always delivered our "Summer Fun" reading lists, invitations to travel backward or forward in time, around the world or beyond.

It is tragic that community libraries, such democratic institutions, have become luxuries we can ill afford.

Library closings mark another measure in the decline of our society.

Patty Nicholls

Loch Hill

Women lawmakers

Sometimes legislators help us with matters too unwieldy for us, but most legislators are now more indebted to big business political action committees than they are to constituents. That's why it's a real eye-opener when a legislator does specific things for constituents who have no power or influence.

Freshman Del. Leslie Hutchinson helped us find a home for our 25-year-old autistic son. She also cleared up two bureaucratic blunders involving the Motor Vehicles Administration and the Maryland State Police.

I don't know this legislator, but if that's the kind of women being rTC elected as representatives then let's have more women elected.

Herbert J. Scism

Baltimore

Selling death

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