Police retirements won't stop fight against crimeWhile it...


June 08, 1999

Police retirements won't stop fight against crime

While it is true that a number of officers will take advantage of the long-anticipated Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), it is not true that safety in the city of Baltimore will suffer. ("Will city just sit back as veteran police go?" editorial, May 30).

Management and deployment strategies have been implemented, and will continue in effect throughout the summer, to ensure a timely response to citizen concerns as we advance our community policing efforts.

The Police Department remains firmly focused on violent crime, which has fallen more than 25 percent in Baltimore during the past three years. Last year, Baltimore's crime was at its lowest point this decade.

This year, the number of homicides is down approximately 22 percent from the same time last year.

Strong crime-fighting strategies, enhanced community partnerships and hardworking officers have all contributed to Baltimore's dwindling crime rate.

Despite the expected retirements of these veteran officers, citizens will see just as many committed police officers working in their neighborhoods this summer to improve the quality of life in this city.

Thomas C. Frazier, Baltimore

The writer is police commissioner of Baltimore.

`Voting with their feet' against police leadership

The Sun's recent editorial "Will city just sit back as veteran police go?" (May 30), laments the pending exodus of 250 or more police officers, at the conclusion of the initial Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) participation period, but suggests that it's not too late to do something about it.

That's wrong: It is too late. The retirement plan makes it advantageous to be on the pension roll by June 30 of any given year so that one is eligible for post-retirement benefit increases.

Some officers may choose to work until the absolute end of the initial DROP period, joining the pension plan by July 31 of this year. But it's too late to keep them from leaving.

Even if that weren't the case, however, the pension incentive created by DROP has become secondary to the overwhelming urge of a majority of police officers retiring to simply get out.

In 1997, The Sun reported the results of Fraternal Order of Police membership poll that found that most respondents believed that Commissioner Thomas Frazier had to go.

Commissioner Frazier's three-year charade of claiming to be the architect of the DROP program -- which he actually tried to scuttle because it allowed participation by "limited duty" officers -- speaks volumes about his lack of integrity.

His inability to manage the plan he had claimed credit for underscores his lack of competence.

Now, with no end in sight for Commissioner Frazier's abysmal reign, which has succeeded only in eviscerating the city's police force, many of those same officers who voted "no confidence" in 1997 are voting with their feet.

Stephan G. Fugate, Baltimore

The writer is president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 964.

IWIF board doesn't need corporate mouthpiece

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, great supporter of working people and their families? Hardly, given his reappointment of Crown Central Petroleum mouthpiece Joe Coale to the Injured Workers' Insurance Fund (IWIF) board ("Glendening revamps IWIF board," May 29).

It's bad enough that IWIF has turned into a palace for political hacks, but to reappoint Mr. Coale, a man who spends his days apologizing for Henry Rosenberg Jr. and his company's racist and sexist supervisors, shows where Mr. Glendening's real loyalties lie.

Mr. Coale has spent much of his time responding to dozens of civil rights, environmental, religious, women's and workers' organizations who call for a boycott of Crown gas products.

Is this the guy whom the governor wishes to stand behind?

Ed Rothstein, Dundalk

Guns are already tightly regulated

J. Wayne Ruddock's letter asked why the gun industry isn't regulated to protect consumers ("It's high time we take away the guns," June 1).

But, name another consumer product whose manufacturer must be licensed by the federal government and where every item produced must be accounted for at every step of manufacture, storage, shipping, distribution and sale.

Name another industry in which every store must be licensed to sell the product and must keep written records of every item sold, under penalty of felony conviction.

Is there another industry in which every purchase must be approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and sales are strictly limited by the age and background of the purchaser?

This is what the gun confiscation forces call a "completely unregulated industry."

It doesn't sound that way to me.

John Pfister, Columbia

FAA must intervene to protect flying public

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