Before a raucous crowd, Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm tried to assure residents and state legislators last night that police are not pursuing overly aggressive arrest policies, says the Baltimore Sun. Angry residents booed O’Malley and other officials. Some people complained during the 4-hour meeting that they feel abused by aggressive police patrols; others said officers must do more to keep crime from spiraling out of control.
O’Malley, who has made public safety a centerpiece of his leadership and is running for governor, said arrests increased only slightly last year and violent crime declined as police handled 1.4 million emergency calls for help. Hamm disclosed a 21-point list of actions the Police Department plans, including an independent study examining police arrests, more training for officers on legal issues surrounding search and seizure tactics, and quarterly audits on arrests in which people are released without charges. Emotions ran high at the meting. People carried signs criticizing police or wore blue and gold ribbons to indicate their support for the force. Many people yelled at speakers.