Monday, May 22, 2006

"Protect and Serve" -- Baltimore Style

Baltimore's Channel 11 reports about two young people from Chantilly, Virginia who got lost trying to find Interstate 95 leaving Camden Yard where they had been to a company picnic at a Baltimore Orioles baseball game.

Lost in a South Baltimore neighborhood, they flagged down a Baltimore police officer for help, who told them 'You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.' They flagged down another officer for help. She arrested them for "trespassing" on a public street!

Is this reaction to two lost visitors consistent with the mission of the Baltimore Police? This is the statement of the mission from the official website of the Baltimore Police:

The mission of every member of the Baltimore Police Department is the same, regardless of assignment:

Reduce violent crime through targeted proactive enforcement.

To accomplish this mission, the following goals have been put in place:
  • Reduce violence with a focus on homicides and shootings
  • Remove guns from the street
  • Reduce juvenile crime
  • Return open spaces to law-abiding citizens
  • Operate with integrity and professionalism.
* * *
It seems that the mission of "return[ing] open spaces (like the city's streets) to law-abiding citizens" depends upon the definition of "citizen." On the website the slogan, if not the mission, of the police department is "Protect and Serve the Citizens of Baltimore." Evidently, if you're from Chantilly, Virginia, you ain't no citizen of "Bal'more."

Thanks to Sherry Swiney and the Patrick Crusade for the tip.

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