City Council must let police commissioner run his...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 18, 2001

City Council must let police commissioner run his department

Bravo to Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris for his spirited defense of the dismissal of four high-ranking officers, two of whom were black ("Norris adamant on removal of 2 black officers," May 16). It seems that whenever a black person is involved in a controversy -- related to a crime, political appointment or whatever -- the cry of racism rears its ugly head.

The black community should understand that Mr. Norris was hired to bring down the alarming and shameful rate of homicides and violent crime in Baltimore.

To accomplish this goal, he needs to make whatever changes he deems necessary. If some of those changes involve black personnel, so be it.

The commissioner was hired to do a vitally important job and he is doing it effectively. Members of the City Council should back off and let him run his department.

Albert E. Denny

Baltimore

I sympathize with Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris' apparent frustration at the May 14 City Council hearing where he was condemned for his decision to remove four top officials, two of whom happened to be African-American.

How can anyone accuse Mr. Norris of being racially discriminatory? These men were removed because of their unsatisfactory job performance, and not for any other reason.

It appalls me that some of Baltimore's citizens would rather these men keep their positions, despite their pathetic job performance, simply because of their race.

Unprofessional and unproductive job performance by any police official should not be tolerated. Mr. Norris made the right decision in removing these individuals.

Jennifer Gladsky

Baltimore

After reading "Norris adamant on removal of 2 black officers" (May 16) and watching the news, I am appalled at the stupidity of the people of Baltimore.

Four police officers were fired. Two were black and two were white; I don't hear anyone screaming about the white police officers being fired.

If you do not do what is expected of you by your superiors, you are fired. I commend Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris for his strength of conviction.

Joan Solomon

Baltimore

Norris was right to fire officers who misbehaved

The police commissioner stated that he has the legal right to hire and fire high-level officers, and he does.

Of the four officers affected, two were African-Americans. He was either right or wrong to fire the four, regardless of race, and all the officers ought to be considered, not some.

The City Council needs to be as assertive with the affairs of the entire city as it is with this one department. Who are they serving, besides themselves?

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

It shouldn't matter what color you are: If you are not doing your job, you should be removed from your position.

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris should not have to explain why he fired a man who made a phony 911 call and tried to set someone up with a childish trap.

Murphy Edward Smith

Baltimore

I find it disconcerting that media attention has centered on the dismissal of the two black officers, conveniently omitting the removal of the two white officers.

Supporters of the two black officers struck an indignant tone, while charging that the police commissioner intends to replace them with New York transplants.

This vitriolic claptrap is unfounded in light of the officers' actions and the overarching need to lower the crime rate.

And, frankly, I hope the commissioner imports as many "New York thugs" as possible. We should be so lucky to live in such a safe city.

Joe Gutberlet

Baltimore

Black leaders' preoccupation with officers' race is wrong

I am a 48-year-old black male who has lived in Baltimore all my life. I had never gotten involved in a political campaign until Martin O'Malley decided to run for mayor. I supported him then and I support him now.

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris has every right to remove or relieve anyone under his command, black or white, he feels is not doing the job that he or she is paid to do by Baltimore taxpayers.

Tough tactics and strategies are needed to manage a sometimes-tough city. And it is time for black people to stop shouting racism every time something does not go our way.

What are all those shouters doing to prevent criminal activities?

Guy Cager

Baltimore

As an African-American Baltimorean, I find it truly embarrassing how this city's so-called "black leaders" react whenever a notable African-American is removed from his job.

If the fabricated 911 call that Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris spoke of did occur, that seems to me to be grounds for dismissal in itself.

This was the action of a police officer, a person counted on to use good judgment every day to protect this city.

It was obviously a premeditated act of poor judgment.

John W. Parker

Baltimore

Headline stressing race insults African-Americans

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