Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bickering: An Update on The New Crime Plan

Whoa Nellie!

While sometimes I feel like bemoaning the fact that much of my news comes from The Capital, the fact of the matter is that this blog is more of an opinion journal than a news journal, and I am perfectly happy to leave the reporting to the professionals--err, at least the local paper of record.

Enter Sunday's edition, where we learn that the Mayor's lack of direction in implementing her new crime fighting plans has frustrated the very people responsible for its implementation.

This portrayal of how the crime plans came to be fits perfectly with AP's imagination of how city business works. I envisioned the mayor returning from Europe to chaos, and quickly throwing together a cosmetic solution lacking seriousness--a la Sargent Bilko--just to quiet the critics.

Plans do not implement themselves. The last time the Mayor tried to implement a big plan like this, it was for the Market House. When the plan fell through (because nobody worried about the details), the Mayor first denied there were any problems, then conspired to present the grim facts through a rose colored spectrum. The key to implementing a plan is following through on what you say you are going to do. Speaking from experience, is it also good to have backup plans in case your ideal plan does not work.

As for the current crime plan, it seems the mayor's plan was again short on details. So reports The Capital:

Annapolis Housing Authority President Eric Brown wrote Ms. Moyer a letter on Wednesday asking for "additional direction" on what she wants in a new agreement of understanding to address crime in the city's public housing communities.

You would think that the Mayor would take the time to get on the same page with the Housing Authority, since a lot of the emphasis of the new plan is on crime, specifically drug crime, in the public housing areas. The police chief, a reasonably important participant in any crime-fighting effort, had this to say:

We need to sit down.....How do we put this in the budget, secure these things, train these people ... It's not something we can run out and do in the next month. What timeline is she expecting?

Public Service Announcement to Chief Johnson, HACA President Brown, and other department heads: it's not good to publicly criticize the mayor!

Ms. Moyer responded to Mr. Brown by explaining:

I guess he doesn't know how to read.

She also stipulated that:

He (Chief Johnson) needs to advise me on the budgetary issues.

If he has not advised you already, consider yourself advised. He just said he doesn't know how to pay for the horse and the Segway. Also consider yourself redundant:

Local and federal officials confirmed this week the city joined the DEA's State and Local High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force at least 10 years ago.

Now, I will agree that a Mayor does not necessarily have to know every procedural working of the police department. But if the department enters into an important drug-fighting partnership with the federal government, and furthermore if the mayor was on the city council at the time of the agreement, I would think the mayor should know about it. I know of some officers that read this blog--am I right here? Why would the mayor not know something like this?

The mayor later amended her position, stating that she meant for a renewal of emphasis on the task force, rather than a new agreement. Even so, a DEA spokesman said that the task force won't change much:

Special Agent Ed Marcinko, a DEA spokesman, reiterated the task force is not changing how it investigates drugs and identifies drug dealers.

"It's business as usual," he said.

This is government nonsense at its best. The mayor observed a problem, but she seemingly prefers to address the political problem for her rather than the crime problem that most people are interested in talking about. By throwing around buzz words, and buzz ideas, such as 'new committee', 'task force', '5 step plan', etc.--and not backing them up with any teeth--we are no better off.

AP has sent an email to Ray Weaver requesting the results of the recently administered qualification/entrance exam for new officers. Everyone (even now the mayor) is in agreement that the place to start is to fill the 23 vacancies in the department, and when I find out where we are on this, I will let you know.


Anonymous said...

Brovo, you got the situation sized up right on target. The Mayor issues press relaeses, ignores consultation and follow up with any of the affected parties and calls that governing. The hard part of being Mayor is to bring together the affected agencies and craft a real plan and that all parties can and will work to implement and then issue a press release. The Capital has allowed the Mayor's pronouncements to be published with little or no check for accuracy and little or no follow up to assess whether anything was ever actually accomplished.

APD Officer said...

The truth is that the officers are embarrassed for the mayor. Ellen Moyer has done more for the officers than any other recent mayor. Unfortunately, she has taken up lying in recent weeks.
First she took the officers clothing allowance away and then sent her attorney to lie and say we never had it. We are still fighting that over a year later
Then she said that we made 5k more than we did so she could say our wages are competitive. A flat out lie that she continued to use even after we pointed it out to her.
Then she talked about the need for Segways, yet she had refused to buy any in the past (the two we had were shipped back to Segway since they were on loan).
Then Ellen proclaimed she would change the work schedule. Changes in the work schedule have been underway for almost a year!
Then the mayor decided to join a DEA task force! Yup, it’s true; we have been in the task force for at least 10 years.
Let’s not forget the building we live in that she built! Full of mold, tied up in the courts and unusable.
The mayor has yet to do anything to hire new officers. The test that was given was offered to people who applied to APD up to a year ago. Just business as usual. Nothing new. We have 6 people retiring by the end of the year and they might hire 4 to replace them.
You might find it east to beat up on Chief Johnson but he is trying to run a police department in the midst of chaos!
Shame on Ellen Moyer. Perhaps she owes all officers an apology.

15 year officer APD.