BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A scrap of crime scene tape laid up against the curb where early Thursday morning police blocked Nicholas Avenue in Northeast Baltimore to collect evidence after a triple shooting.
It’s the latest act of violence in a city where gunfire doesn’t often stall.
“Wherever the crime is, that’s where the police department needs to be,” said Mayor Jack Young.
But the Police Union worries the constant fight on crime and a shortage of crime fighters is now taking a physical and mental toll on its members.
In a letter to members this week, union leaders ask them to express health concerns to higher-ups and document their response.
“It’s just a smart deployment strategy,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
The timing of the letter collides with their boss’ announcement this week of a new plan to focus police on microzones, the most dangerous areas of the city.
They asked if the City had the staffing to make it happen.
“We’re always optimistic and making sure we get the maximum output and the maximum outcome from our personnel who are here with us doing a great job every day,” Commissioner Harrison said.
But the Union said the department is short 500 patrol officers and it is worried about officers working to the point of exhaustion.
The department released a statement Thursday saying, “We have worked hard to significantly reduce the number of officers who are drafted every day and we have recently limited the amount of overtime that officers are allowed to work per week,”
Baltimore Police Department said 35 new officers will graduate police academy and join the force next week.
The statement said 65 percent of officers working overtime shifts have volunteered to do so.