At the April Reservoir Hill Community Meeting participants discussed the need for police foot patrols in Central West Baltimore neighborhoods and steps to take in getting them. Rebecca Nagle, Coordinator for No BoundariesCoalition led the discussion. We were joined by Central District Commander Major William Marcus, and Sgt. Michael Alessi and Officer Robert Horn.
The Major was very participatory in the conversation, and very supportive of instituting foot and bike patrols. Sgt. Alessi reported that the department still had a number of bikes in good condition, and that the bike patrol program had been disbanded due to budget issues. The Major expressed that budget constraints have been and remain an impediment to the use of foot and bike patrols. Consequently a department-wide strategic decision is needed to support long-term, effective foot and bike patrols. During the discussion, neighbors also raised the issue of improving street lighting, including replacing defective lights.
Two outcomes from the meeting were:
1. Sgt. Alessi will get a lighting survey done in Reservoir Hill over the next week to identify where street and park lighting needs to be replaced or repaired.
2. Major Marcus said that he will over the next week explore how use of over-time pay that is currently in their budget could be used to support temporary foot or bike patrols while this effort to establish a permanent foot and bike patrol operation is developing.
In the meantime, No Boundaries Coalition is forming a Central West Baltimore safety committee to pursue advocacy for foot and bike patrols.
The meeting participants discussed areas to target with an initial foot or bike patrol. The suggestions centered on:
1. Pennsylvania Avenue south of North Avenue.
2. Linden Avenue and North Avenue north to Chauncey Avenue, including the John Eager Howard Park and German Park.
We are pursuing a working session that will include Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, Central District Commander Major Marcus, and Central District Commander Major Robert Smith.
The conversation over foot patrols and fostering a safer Central West Baltimore will continue at the No Boundaries Coalition meeting on 8 April at 6:00 pm at St Peter Claver Church 1526 N Fremont. We will be joined by representatives from the Mayor's office, city council, Western District, and Central District.