Baltimore’s new police public affairs director, Anthony Guglielmi, has decided that identities of officers who shoot people will no longer be made public, at least until after all reviews are completed and then only if the officers’ actions are deemed unjustified, says the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Hermann. The problem is that many city residents don’t trust the cops. In fact, it’s cops who complain that mistrust runs so deep that jurors don’t believe them when they testify in court. Residents in high-crime areas think the cops are out to get them and cover for their own, and this new policy will only reinforce those opinions, Hermann says.
Residents in affluent parts of town think the cops are purposely not reporting crime to make the city appear safer than it is, and hiding even more information will only reinforce those opinions. Since 2004, Baltimore police officers have shot 89 people, killing 31. We have a new police commissioner, a new director of public information, a new strategy to combat crime and less information about how the department is run and about its officers. Access to the Baltimore Police Department – by the news media and, by extension, the public – is dwindling, not increasing, which runs counter to the mayor’s pledge to partner with the community and be accountable. Police officers are given the authority to kill people in appropriate circumstances. There’s a reason officers wear name tags and don’t wear masks. Officers should not be allowed to arrest, interview, stop, search, detain, shoot and kill people in secret. Hermann says.