Leave policing to the professionals

April 19, 2010

It is extremely troubling that the Baltimore City Police Department is being told it will need to cut 300 officers from its rolls while the city pays $1 million to groups of ex-convicts to help stop street violence ("In the shadows, thwarting violence," April 18).

Although an interesting concept, it appears that that there is a significant risk that some of these "mediators" will succumb to the temptation of cashing in on their street credibility. Additionally, their work does not even attempt to address the cause of this violence. As long as the numbers of shootings decline, it seems that drug dealers and gangs are allowed to operate with impunity under the radar of the police.

And what makes organizations like the Living Classrooms Foundation qualified to run such a program? Let's not forget that five people perished six years ago in an accident on a water taxi operated by Living Classrooms. Maybe they should stick to what they do best: take kids sailing. Leave the police work to the professionals.

Bill Harrison, Baltimore

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