An open letter to Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts:
Welcome to the historic and proud City of Baltimore. Some years ago, some wizard jokingly referred to Baltimore as "The City That Bleeds" (a take on the decades-old handle "The City That Reads"). You will find that most Baltimoreans are hard-working, law-abiding citizens. But there is obviously also much room for improvement regarding law enforcement and your new constituents.
I am cognizant that you have an arduous road ahead of you. This will not be the same scenario compared to your previous position in Oakland. There are some major hurdles that await. These obstacles are not insurmountable, but they will likely pose the biggest challenge of your professional career. One major hurdle you will find is that some people here are reluctant to divulge knowledge they have of crimes or lawbreakers. Some citizens not only protect the lawbreakers, they harbor them.
Witnesses have historically "clammed up," mostly for fear of reprisal. Many crimes in Baltimore are never solved because people with pertinent knowledge simply do not want to come forth. I believe one of your biggest challenges is to get to know the citizenry here as if they were your second family. With the familiarity that comes with knowing the people you serve to protect, there will be more people stepping up and revealing useful information in helping to solve crimes. The payoff will be a more inviting city in which to live, work, visit and play.
Sir, with all due respect, pay no heed to the detractors who are already shredding you for your past record. As you know, these people will always be present. I will personally assess you on what you do here to make Baltimore a safer place to visit or to live. Baltimore is a great American city and I am sure you will do everything in your power to enhance that image.
Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham