BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Stamping out racial profiling. The Baltimore Police Department has a new program, pairing officers with residents. The goal is to reduce the city’s crime rate.
Gigi Barnett explains how it all works.
Take a group of Baltimore cops and a cluster of city residents, put them in a classroom and host a discussion on racial profiling. The goal is to stamp it out.
“This isn’t about a whole lot of bad officers. We got a whole lot of good officers out there,” the moderator said.
The forum is the brainchild of Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. He says it was one of the first programs he wanted to implement when he took the top spot on the force back in August 2012.
“What we’re really trying to do is give the skills to the officers so we close the gaps,” Batts said. “To allow officers to know how the community sees us, how we see the community.”
“I’ve been a victim of racism, things have happened to me. So I make it a point as an officer and now as a sergeant to take the time to make sure that I respond to certain calls,” a police representative said.
The honest discussion could build trust between police and residents and cut down on Baltimore’s growing murder rate and other crimes.
“I’ve seen profiling. I’ve seen acts of just outright, blatant racist behavior by police officers,” said Baltimore resident Kim Trueheart. “It shows us in the neighborhoods that this new commissioner is interested in what we think.”
Earlier this month, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also called for more help from citizens to help police reduce violent crime.
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