Police officials leave desks, hit streets to boost patrols 10-week plan puts some administrators back in uniform

July 02, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police launched a summer initiative last night to boost the number of officers on crime-ridden streets by putting detectives and others assigned to administrative tasks back in uniform.

Those ordered to participate in the 10-week program -- from officer to lieutenant -- each will work on the streets for five consecutive days, then return to their usual jobs.

Their job will be to clear street corners of loiterers and search for guns.

"We determined what are the busiest places in the city for shootings and what times of the day are the busiest," said Lt. John Tewey, commander of the Violent Crimes Task Force, which is coordinating the program.

Starting yesterday at 7 p.m., 12 extra police cars -- marked and unmarked -- were patrolling high-crime areas of the city. Each had two officers pulled from their regular duties.

Police had a similar initiative last year for two days in Eastern District, the most dangerous in the city. But this year, the program is to last all summer.

The only officers exempt are homicide detectives and those in the task force.

The rest are pulled from investigative units, such as robbery, vice, tactical and traffic, or from administrative jobs at the police academy and the communications division.

The effort is designed in part to help patrol officers, who often spend much of their time answering emergency calls, which takes them off their beats.

"This has nothing to do with giving people a taste of the streets," said Col. Steven R. Crumrine, commander of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

"This is giving patrol a breather. This is specifically aimed at preventing shootings and taking a proactive step toward getting guns off the street."

Police would not say how many officers are taking part or where they will be deployed. But commanders promised that the target areas will shift from night to night.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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