Pervading through all the discussions of crime in the recent months has been one particular theme: hire more police officers. Specifically, hire 23 more officers to fill the vacancies in the police department that are already funded.
The mayor's response to this cry has been mixed, at best.
Her original position was that we did not have a crime problem--that violent crime has been decreasing. But the actual crime data made this position an inconvenient one to defend.
The next incarnation of her policy statement assured us that Annapolis offered competitive salary and benefits; therefore, we are doing everything we can and we just have to live with the shortage. The war in Iraq had caused a nationwide shortage in officers, she said. But then we learned that the salary figures she used were not accurate, and in fact that the city had not offered an entrance exam in more than a year, so no new officers could be hired regardless of salary offered.
The city finally administered the entrance exam, and AP asks, where are we now? Have we hired any new officers? Are we planning to?
An email to Public Information Officer Ray Weaver, asking him the above questions, is un-returned as of this writing. I just sent the same email to Hal Dalton, the police department spokesman.
Many times in politics, a certain cause gains steam, chugs along for a while, then putters out. I shall strive to ensure that this issue does not share a similar fate. Just because we don't hear about a problem doesn't mean that it's solved, and we should demand answers.