150 officers assigned temporary patrol duty

Union had faulted chief for depleting city division

August 19, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

In an effort to increase police presence on the streets, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark has ordered about 150 detectives, administrators and others to temporarily join the department's patrol division.

The move comes shortly after the police union president criticized Clark in the union's quarterly newsletter for depleting the patrol division.

It also is being made as the city remains on pace to have as many homicides as last year - when the number increased for the first time since Mayor Martin O'Malley took office in 1999. There have been 182 homicides this year, police officials said yesterday. Last year at this point there had been 180. A total of 271 homicides were committed last year.

Police spokesman Matt Jablow said the move is not specifically related to either.

"It gives us greater visibility on the streets and allows us to be more proactive," he said.

Dan Fickus, president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police, said Clark had depleted patrol in favor of building up the organized crime division, which focuses largely on undercover police work.

"This is a good move," Fickus said. "It should have been done a long, long time ago."

A preliminary plan announced Tuesday calls for 53 detectives, 40 members of the organized crime division, 30 members of special operations, 13 administrators, 11 members of education and training and seven members of community affairs to start patrolling, Jablow said.

Police officials did not say yesterday how long the assignments would last.

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