June 25, 2019
STATEMENT REGARDING BPD MICRO-ZONES STRATEGY
While FOP #3 applauds the Baltimore Police Department for trying to find a method to control the ongoing violence in the City, we feel that the micro-zones, recently announced, are nothing more than the regurgitation of past efforts. Approximately 5 months ago, I met with former Mayor Pugh to discuss newly hired Police Commissioner Harrison. The Mayor assured me that the new Commissioner was coming to town with a plan that was already approved by herself and her leadership team. The Mayor also stressed that this plan was a success in New Orleans. She was confident that Commissioner Harrison was the right choice for Baltimore’s Police Commissioner and that he would hit the ground running.
Now, 5 months later, we have the announcement of the micro-zones deployment strategy which the Department agrees is similar to past efforts called “hot spots”, “cops on dots”, and, most recently, this tactic was called “commander’s zones”. We are told that what makes this version of the micro-zones different is a greater number of zones. The BPD now has 500-600 less Officers than when this strategy was last tried, and the math just doesn’t add up. Less Police Officers and more zones to cover clearly means a thinly stretched Patrol Division. Anyone who already monitors BPD radio communications knows that calls for service are already continuously backed up in these zones, especially during the most active times. Can our Officers really be expected to answer calls at the same time they are monitoring these micro-zones? How, then, can the micro-zones policy succeed? Or was it never meant to! Is it possible that this strategy announcement is just an effort to “get something out” at a time when the violence is escalating even further, and it appears that Commissioner Harrison and his Command Staff are desperately searching for an answer? Only time will tell.