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Baltimore May Hire 300 New Police Officers

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Police are looking to hire 300 officers by the end of summer in hopes of fighting crime.

Rochelle Ritchie sat down with a lieutenant to see the impact the extra officers could have on the city.

The year got off to a deadly start on New Year’s Day after a father and son were shot execution style on Edmondson Avenue.

“One of the victims was shot in the head; the other was shot multiple times,” said Detective Jeremy Silbert.

Now the death toll has reached 17 homicides in just 20 days. The new numbers are alarming enough that the Baltimore City Police Department is looking to recruit 300 new officers.

“We hear in community after community they want to see officers out in their community and they want to work with us, and part of fulfilling that mission is to make sure our districts are fully staffed,” said Lt. Eric Kowalczyk.

The department is using its Twitter handle @baltimorepolice to answer questions from people interested in becoming part of the force.

In a sit-down interview with WJZ, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has admitted there are not enough officers to deal with the crime and he’s committed to changing that.

“We’ve had a challenge with our attrition this year. Our attrition is up 35, 40 percent over the past years and that’s pretty dramatic and that impacts your ability to fight crime,” Batts said.

Last year’s homicide rate ended at 234. Some fear with more than a dozen killings on record already, warmer temperatures will bring more shootings and murders.

“More people are outside. It’s too cold right now. People stay inside in the winter and when schools are out, people stay out later. A lot more problems in the summertime,” said Jason Roberts.

It takes six months to get through the police academy. That means by August or September, we could see more men and women in uniform on the streets.

“Just reassures everyone and gives everyone a little more faith to have more protection,” said Christie Mazza.

The police department says creating job opportunities is another way to fight crime.

Police are still taking questions on their Twitter account.

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