Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A baby savagely attacked with a knife inside what’s supposed to be a secure Department of Social Services (DSS) office. Her own mother is now charged. Now, major changes are coming to DSS security procedures to prevent it from happening again.
Gigi Barnett explains what’s being done.
Social workers said Kenisha Thomas, 29, went through metal detectors when she visited her baby earlier this week, but she was still able to get a kitchen knife through the building to attack her baby.
Three days after police arrested Thomas for stabbing her 8-month-old baby during a supervised visit inside the East Baltimore Social Services office, the state is tightening its safety rules to keep all weapons out.
“We will be installing lockers in the facilities where bags will be checked prior to going into those rooms,” Ted Dallas, secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources, said.
Dallas says social workers who fear for their safety or a child’s safety can also request additional security inside the visitation rooms.
Although Thomas’ case is still under investigation, the social worker had no backup.
“Our employees performed admirably that day and put themselves in harm’s way to save that child. Nothing we do is perfect,” Dallas said.
The social workers union says they’ve complained about security in the buildings before and feared the worst because many times they come in contact with angry and irate parents.
“It was a matter of time before something tragic happened,” Patrick Moran, the director for the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said.
Some workers want the private security company removed from duty.
“Their contract should be terminated. You’d think that an incident like this would not have happened if someone was doing their jobs,” Moran said.
But the Department of Human Resources said it has no plans to get rid of that private security company.
Pretty Diamond, the 8-month-old, is in fair condition.