How often do you hear of an agency fighting for the interests of rank
and file street cops?
I mean the agency itself, not the union.
Thereís a big to-do going on right in Baltimore. The Baltimore City
Police Department recently adopted a new policy where they will no
longer release the names of officers involved in deadly shootings.
According to the Baltimore Sun:
The department will wait until after an internal investigation
has been completed to decide whether to release the name of an
officer who acted justifiably, though Bealefeld [Police Commissioner
Frederick H. Bealefeld] said the department will always release the
officer's name and the disciplinary actions taken if a shooting is
determined not to be justified.
The commissioner sites the safety of his officers as the reason for
implementing this policy. Again from The Sun:
"With the increasing amount of personal information on any
individual available through the Internet, we must take a measured
approach in balancing the public's right to know against personal
security," Bealefeld wrote, citing "home addresses, satellite
photographs, credit reports and voting and academic records."
As you would expect, not everyone is thrilled. The usual suspects
have chimed in with their opposition: the ACLU, the NAACP, and assorted
local and state politicians.
But the police department, backed by the Union, is sticking to its
There are two striking points that jump out from this controversy.
First, this policy is good and should be enacted everywhere.
If law officers are to be expected to confront professional
criminals, armed gang members, and other monsters, the least society can
do is have measures in place to protect the officers.
In the recent officer-involved shooting in Oakland, California, death
threats were made against the officer and his parents within hours of
the shooting. It was so serious, that they all had to take refuge in a
The second point that comes out of this is the courage of the
Baltimore City Police Commissioner and his administration.
Knowing that this policy would not go over well, he and his command
staff still went forward with it because it was the right thing to do.
And when opposition began surfacing from all directions, they didnít
Thereís a word for that. Itís called leadership.
In an era where far too many find that pandering is the easiest path
to a peaceful existence, itís refreshing to see such efforts coming from
the executive level.