Promotion ceremony ignored non-minority firefighters 0...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 02, 1998

Promotion ceremony ignored non-minority firefighters 0) honored

Peter Hermann's "Fire officials give minorities command posts" (Sept. 25), while accurate, barely scratched the surface of the substance and content of the attendant ceremony conducted at Baltimore's Fire Academy the previous day. What should have been a joyous celebration for all 15 of the members promoted, ended up instead with nine of those members and their families shaking their heads in collective disgust.

Chief Herman Williams Jr., whether knowingly or not, went above and beyond in distinguishing the racial element in his comments and actions, leaving little doubt in the hearts and minds of those promoted who are not African Americans that they (and their families) didn't matter.

Fifteen uniformed members of our proud department were promoted that day, and two previously promoted were formally recognized.

All 17 deserve recognition and praise because of their accomplishments. To lend official preference to the former is demeaning and demoralizing.

Fire fighting is an occupation in which our members eat, sleep, live and die together, and we can ill afford to allow official endorsement of racial divisiveness whether it's some moron placing a hangman's noose in a member's locker or a ranking department official's shunning of an entire group at a high point in their careers.

Stephen G. Fugate

Baltimore

SG The writer is president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association.

Commissioner's testimony matched public statements

My comments from the deposition in August are no different from what I've said publicly to community leaders, concerned citizens and my own staff ("Baltimore police have race bias, Frazier testifies," Sept. 30). I abhor the vestiges of historical racism that exist within the Baltimore Police Department.

My command staff and I are united in our commitment to institute new systems to prevent the possibility of disparate treatment, to address individual incidents forthrightly, to double-check disciplinary actions for consistency and to communicate our absolute intolerance of racism within the department.

The impression created by your article was incorrect, painful and unfair. The vast majority of our supervisors, officers and support staff share our commitment to equity with both personal and professional resolve. They also share our belief that anyone who differs in this matter is not welcome in the Baltimore Police Department.

Thomas C. Frazier

Baltimore

D8 The writer is police commissioner of Baltimore City.

'Ole boy' system hinders recruitment of minorities

After reading the article "Police department aims at attracting more minorities" (Sept. 29) by Dail Willis on how the Baltimore County Police Department is trying to attract more minorities, I was compelled to write this letter and give a little insight as to why some African Americans stay away from law enforcement.

Law enforcement still has the "good ole boy" system intact. They can treat you any way they want and do not have to worry about repercussions.

Look at all the discrimination going on in Baltimore City Police Department. I know it also occurs in Baltimore County, but for some strange reason it is going unreported. When you make up just 11 percent of the force, you know you cannot or better not shake the boat from the inside.

The Baltimore County Police Department needs to improve its treatment of the minorities it has on the force, particularly the African Americans. Then the word would get out, and more minorities would join the force.

That "good ole boy" system is just like cancer: If it is not removed, it will spread and kill you.

Shawn Baker

Baltimore

Books made city look good, even to New York visitor

This city looks great!" a visiting author from New York said last weekend while visiting the Children's Bookstore tent during the Baltimore Book Festival. Baltimore did look great, thanks to Bill Gilmore, Kathy Hornig and the ever-cheerful staff of the Baltimore Office of Tourism and Promotions.

The Baltimore Book Festival has become a major event in the city, showing off to the entire community the wealth of small, independent, book-related businesses and services that have supported the Baltimore community for years, financially and by helping to get reading material to the public, especially children.

We know this is a great community, but it's always nice to get a compliment from a New Yorker.

JoAnn Fruchtman

Baltimore

Another entity should make special-ed decision

The editorial "Special education woes" (Sept. 22) shows how on-target your reporters Debbie Price, Stephen Henderson and Liz Bowie were when they uncovered the ineffectiveness of special education programs offered by Baltimore City Public Schools.

Imagine my surprise when I read further in the paper, to the editorial page, that The Sun recommended that the school system retest the students to see if they are properly placed.

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