2012-06-09 / Editorials & Letters

A 24/7 police department will cost more money

Editor:

I believe that in my previous letter I stated there was a” recent informal gathering of citizens whom believe Baltimore needs a 24-7 police department.” Key words are ‘informal gathering’ and whom “believe Baltimore needs a 24-7 police department.’ From Mr. Lamb’s comments in last week’s Beacon, he is not convinced that Baltimore needs a 24-7 police department, but if they want one it will cost more money.

Mr. Lamb, with all due respect, this is 2012 not 1962. Police visibility on the streets is an important deterrent to criminal behavior, not a guarantee there will be no criminal activity. Only a fool would guarantee there would be no crime if there were an officer on duty 24 hours per day 7 days a week. Think about it this way, does a burglar alarm guarantee a home won’t be burglarized or is an ADT sign in a yard a home owners way of hoping to deter a would be burglar.

What having a 24-7 police department does offer to residents is a quick response time (the time from when the call was dispatched to the time an officer arrives on the scene). Typically in Baltimore that time is between 1-5 minutes. While it is true Baltimore is in Fairfield County and as such entitled to police protection thru the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Baltimore is not their primary responsibility as a Village with a police department. A deputy will respond as soon as one is available, but will have a greater response time. I have heard rumors that some residents believe that a deputy is specifically assigned to Baltimore when no police units are on duty. One word describes this rumor, UNTRUE.

Before the November election I had two off-duty Baltimore Police officers come to my door and hand me a Support Baltimore Police door knob hanging placard. I am not backward by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I told them I would vote NO because of the little “stunt” on Market Street with the drug bust. They tried to talk to me, but I had my mind made up that it was a ploy to make voters think highly of the police department and be more willing to vote for the tax levy. My opinion was based on what/how we would have handled that raid many years ago when I was in law enforcement. There would have been one buy by a undercover police officer. We would have obtained a search warrant for the premises and an arrest warrant for the dealer, and we would have executed those warrants.

After the November election, I had the opportunity to meet with Chief Tussey. I learned that you need more than one buy before the prosecutor is willing to proceed with charges. In this instance, the number of buys needed was four due to the extended period of time that had passed since the third buy and the dealer might not be doing it any more.

I also learned that due to the failure of the levy the department would be laying off two of the full time police officers indefinitely. We discussed several other issues which caused the police department to run short on funds before the budget year was over. I will mention a couple: High maintenance costs due to the age of the cruisers, overtime pay for the officers that were summoned to Municipal/ Common Pleas Courts, and the uncontrollable price of gasoline for the cruisers.

No folks, the village does not get a break on the price of gasoline. They have to pay the same rollercoaster prices we do at the pumps. Chief Tussey was very candid, up front, and honest with his answers and that is why I made the statement “ I now know the facts and I now feel my decision to vote against the levy was wrong.” Unlike some, I am not afraid or ashamed to admit when I am wrong. The reason “very few knew the facts”, Mr. Lamb, was because nobody bothered to ask for the facts. Chief Tussey told me he would be more than glad to discuss any concerns the citizens of Baltimore might have with regards to the police budget or anything else regarding the police department. All you need is to ask.

The presence of two television news crews and a newspaper reports was not a coincidence, as I understand they were invited. I don’t think that a brief news report could be considered a “television show” to sway undecided voters. Their presence and the news reports actually served three purposes.

1. Demonstrated that the officers executed the warrants professionally (no police misconduct.

2. Provided additional evidence as to the guilt of the drug dealer.

3. And most importantly sent a strong message that drug dealing isn’t tolerated in Baltimore. This drug bust was totally conducted by your Baltimore Police Department. The message here is we infiltrated this drug ring and took them down, we can and will do the same to yours.

I have addressed why I voted NO in November and now have a question for Mr. Lamb. Where did you get the idea that I was a “career sheriff’s deputy/police officer”? I wrote in my last letter, “I was a deputy sheriff and a police officer in this fine village many years ago”. You must have assumed law enforcement was my career. We all know what happens when we ass u me something.

For your information. I was a special deputy with the sheriff’s office and an auxiliary Baltimore Police Officer. What is the difference? In both positions you wear the same uniforms, have the same authority, are required to have the same training as a regular deputy/ police officer, except YOU DON’T GET PAID. The only time a Special/ Reserve Officer gets paid is for special details such as football games, auctions, bank security, etc. and it comes from the private entities using your services. Special details help defray some of the costs for your uniforms, accessories, and training costs. Most residents didn’t know our names so we got nick names. I had three Cherry Cheeks, Baby Face, and Two Gun. Sometimes I would be called Bob.

My career was with Diamond Power in Lancaster. I retired from there in 2008 with 37 years of service. I do get a pension and I don’t have insurance. My wife is still working and provides insurance for us both.

You can rest assured Mr. Lamb that when this levy passes it will cost our household much more than it will cost yours.

I know you were a volunteer on Baltimore’s Fire Department. I have always thought very highly of the Baltimore Fire Department now Basil Joint Fire District. You should know they have more fire vehicles than in the past and Station 610 is manned by paid personnel. This only happened because voters supported levies and now we are blessed with the best Fire/EMS service in the county.

Mr. Lamb, you keep mentioning you have lived here for 50 years. How does that make you an expert on what the police department needs now? This levy won’t build anything, but it will get police coverage back to the level it was before the layoffs. Once again we’ll have a 24-7 police department. We are now just a levy away from having the best police department in Fairfield County.

You are ass u ming again that someone at the police department “filled me in” on the events at your home. Actually, the police department didn’t have anything to do with me being “filled in”. After reading one of your earlier letters, I was talking to a long-time friend and asked, “Who the hell is this Charles Lamb”

He said you know the guy that had the insurance company in town. I said that’s Bob Lamb. He said one in the same. That is when I called you and later came over to your home for a reunion. You told me that your home had been broken into and that BPD had caught the culprits and recovered your property.

Here’s a couple of closing comments. A “cheerleader”, Mr. Lamb, I think not. I tried that once, but the uniform made my butt look fat.

Seriously, I am asking Baltimore residents to ask themselves what kind of police department they want and vote accordingly. This is my last letter to the editor as I detest writing letters and I have said all I have to say. Thank You!

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