Baltimore Co. police chief is in denial

June 27, 2013

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts demonstrated courage for his public acknowledgment of the staffing shortage in the Baltimore City Police Department. ("City police: We need more," June 19) whereas Baltimore County Chief of Police James Johnson has presented a different story.

Several years ago, I met with Chief Johnson and asked him to please make a public statement expressing the need for more officers in the county. He refused to do so, claiming that crime is down significantly. He used so-called statistics to try to prove the point. I proceeded to remind him of a comment made by a former NFL coach who said that statistics are like prostitutes, they will do anything you want them to do for you. Six months later, Police Commissioner Johnson sent robot calls to the Pikesville citizens warning them to be especially careful due to a string of recent robberies in the area. So much for statistics.

One cannot solve a problem if one doesn't admit the problem exists. To the credit of Commissioner Batts, he knows that the best deterrent to crime is an effective police presence in every crime-ridden area. Baltimore County's police chief needs to learn a lesson from his city colleague.

Ralph Jaffe, Baltimore

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