Thursday, August 23, 2007

Selected Quotes From Mayor's New Drug Fighting Plan

As I briefly announced 2 posts ago, Mayor Moyer wants to establish illegal drugs and illegal guns task forces that work with federal and state agencies. So says she:

In 2006, the Annapolis Police Department made 275 arrests on drugs and conducted 45 raids. Our goal, with the unified effort I am requesting, is to double the number of arrests and to make it crystal clear that the Capital City is not a Drug Capital.

Great. So, you're going to hire the additional 23 officers to do this?

Surveillance for some nuisance crimes may have to be reduced, but available personnel must be utilized to deal directly with serious crime.

No, no. Silly me. You are not going to fill the vacancies in the police department to achieve this goal--you are willingly and knowingly going to sacrifice the quality of other crime prevention so you can better prevent these crimes!!!!!

I'm all for prioritizing, but why not do both? Why not hire the 23 officers that are lacking in the police department, continue addressing nuisance crime, AND work harder to deal with serious crime?

And, Mayor Moyer, what do you expect of these new policies?

Over the past few days I have made some specific recommendations and requests. I am hopeful that the agencies involved will join me in assuring that Annapolis remains one of the finest Cities in the world to live in and visit.

Let's re-visit these specific recommendations:
-get a horse
-buy Segways (instead of bicycles)
-have better lighting
-end policing grant to HACA to centralize duties and increase accountability
-make entire city a drug free zone (a formality, largely)
-reduce number of police shifts from 5 to 3
-create drug and gun task forces with other agencies

What I like about this:
-acknowledgement that public housing is probably the biggest crime issue
-possibility of cooperation with other jurisdictions
-city takes its own responsibility for policing all areas

What I don't like about this:
-no commitment to fill 23 vacancies in police department
-no plan for community policing/foot patrols
-increased overtime for police officers, paid by taxpayers
-why Segways?
-why a horse?
-mayor blames everyone but herself ("Accountability from HACA has been questionable", etc.)
-no mention of a change in police department leadership
-inability to collaborate with HACA
-no structural plan to provide incentive to public housing residents to improve themselves/take a stake in the community

I suppose it's a start--at least the mayor is paying attention to the problem. But how committed is she, really? Does the have the will to see this through? Does she expect with honesty that her changes will help the problem?

Time will give us the answers. And if not, the candidates running for mayor will be sure to jump on the opportunity.

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