Last night we gathered our neighbors and walked to the Breath Of God Lutheran Church. We arrived about ten of 7 to see a line out the door. The ground floor and balcony were completely full (yup that’s 250 seats). So we went downstairs where they had speakers set up to hear the speeches and questions. Easily another 200 people and more coming in. As we mingled with neighbors, there was an announcement that they were having an issues with the microphones and speakers.
We decided to wait it out while our neighbor volunteered to try to fix the system. The mics eventually worked upstairs but the downstairs speakers were shot. Jim Kraft and Bill Ferguson quickly came up with a plan B and we were able to meet the majority of the Southeast police leadership. We were able to ask questions directly to the police representatives: Area Commander Melissa Hyatt, Southeast District Captain Brian Hance, BPD Lieutenant Colonel David Reitz and Patrol Division Commander Colonel Darryl DeSousa, Baltimore Police Government Relations Director Jim Green, and Bill Ferguson and Jim Kraft.
The questions ranged from what citizens can do, to how long the police presence will continue. As a community we were lauded for our community engagement. The police appreciate it and plan on doing more foot patrols so the community can become familiar with the police and the police with the community. So if you see a police officer, introduce yourself!
The patrols will be continue as their current level until there is a significant decrease in criminal activity. The police also said they will be looking to identify patterns in crime prior to it reaching the level it has. If you are unhappy with your interaction with a police officer or dispatcher, you should call the district at 410-396-2422 or email email@example.com.
I think the one of the most resonating questions came from a young women from the group The Intersection. The Intersections is a local non-profit that works to transform students from underserved areas into leaders with the skills to go to and through college, to engage in civic action, and to articulate and solve challenges facing themselves and their communities. She acknowledged the need for police presence as a short term solution but wants to know how the city is going to help the youth of the city and how the community can support the youth. The police will be bringing back a 4×4 lacrosse league for city youth but this is an on-going issue and something that as a community we should focus on.
I’m having some hyperlink issues, so check out the extremely long helpful links below.
You can access a more comprehensive list of questions and answers from the downstairs meeting here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By1O8FdOIdbLUk9QeWVfWnN4d00/edit?usp=sharing
For those interested in the upstairs conversation with Commissioner Bates and Mayor Rawlings Blake, you can access a storify of the tweets from the meeting upstairs last night here: http://storify.com/thejessgill/se-district-unite?utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&awesm=sfy.co_sOwg&utm_campaign=&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_source=facebook.com
Information about The Intersection: http://baltimoreintersection.com/