Baltimore Exempts Homicide Detectives From Foot Patrols


Baltimore police ended a controversial but short-lived initiative that had homicide detectives pausing their investigations to don their uniforms and walk beats, reports the Baltimore Sun. For two weeks, the homicide unit had been included in a strategy, backed by Mayor Sheila Dixon, to place 85 detectives on the city’s most violent streets. Faced with a staffing shortage and political pressure to rein in overtime spending, officials had ordered homicide and district detectives to walk foot patrols at least once a week. Said Paul M. Blair Jr., president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police union: “To take them from homicide was not one of the smart ideas to come out of City Hall.”

With the rise in nonfatal shootings and homicides — 140 people had been killed by yesterday, 18 more than last year — Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm decided to exempt homicide detectives from foot patrols. Still on beats last night were detectives who investigate burglaries, robberies, and nonfatal shootings. The homicide detectives had grumbled loudly, saying their valuable investigative time was being squeezed. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University called the plan to put the detectives on foot patrols “ill-advised.”


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