Police Department isn't short of cars, commissioner says

November 22, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said yesterday that his department does not have a shortage of police cars and that its new deployment strategies are working well.

Police commanders and union officials have complained recently that the department was having difficulty sending officers into high-crime areas because they did not have enough marked and unmarked cars.

Norris said that officials are reviewing the department's needs and that the complaints might spring from "a management issue."

With homicides occurring at a rate of nearly one a day between Oct. 1 and last week, police eliminated some two-man patrols in each district, freeing 18 to 24 officers to join "flex" units to be dispatched to high-crime areas.

Almost immediately, police commanders and officers began complaining that officers were being sent to those areas with four or five to a car, which reduced effectiveness.

Others said that they were not short of vehicles and that officers' driving was to blame for the lack of cars in certain districts. Officers have had 15 percent more accidents this year than last.

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