Young escorted from meeting

January 16, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

The chairman of the Baltimore City Council committee that oversees the Police Department was fuming yesterday after being escorted out of a weekly meeting of police commanders.

Bernard "Jack" Young, a councilman from West Baltimore, said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III walked him out of a Comstat meeting, where police describe crime trends and enforcement tactics, and made him feel unwelcome.

"It's supposed to be open and transparent government, and that process wasn't today," Young said. "I thought we were all partners in this."

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said the department would "happily accommodate" Young if he schedules a visit. But Guglielmi noted that Comstat meetings are not open to the public and feature sensitive discussion. Guests attend on occasion after receiving pre-approval.

"We want to be prepared when an elected official comes, to be able to provide any information if they ask for it," Guglielmi said.

But Young, who said he was already upset about a new police policy not to release the names of officers involved in shootings, said the chairman of the council's public safety committee shouldn't have to request permission to attend.

"In light of what's going on with not being able to give names of officers, people out there are suspicious," Young said. "Now I have suspicions, after being asked to leave Comstat."

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