Talk to residents and business owners alike and they agree they want to see more police officers walking instead of driving. says the Baltimore Sun. They want a cop they can talk to, a cop they can see, a cop who understands their problems and can tell, street to street, door to door, the good guys from the bad. Sprawling cities, a deluge of emergency calls, and strained budgets have turned the old-time walking beat cop into a luxury.
Baltimore police commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III, wants to change that. He’s using a $10 million federal grant awarded to the city to hire 50 officers, 25 of whom are already going through the training academy. And when they graduate in a few months, they’ll find themselves on foot instead of in a car. Bealefeld has ordered his patrol chief to concentrate on “quality-of-life enforcement,” deploying the new officers where they can help combat prostitution, public drinking, and so forth. These are the types of crimes that Baltimore residents often say get lost amid the murder and mayhem, and can frustrate them enough that they threaten to leave the city if their garbage can gets stolen one more time, or their planter is broken, or their wife gets propositioned for sex while carrying groceries inside.