It’s time for change in policing in America; in Maryland; right here in Frederick County. There have been calls for reform from time to time, but not much has happened, and not much has improved. It’s time to rethink the place of police in our communities. The time for reform has come and gone. It’s time to remake our police system.

We’re sure (at least hopeful) that many of the officers and deputies in the county, including Frederick City Police, Brunswick Police, Thurmont Police and the Sheriff’s Office, are good and decent men and women, but even they are caught in the military-like culture of policing.

Using the language of J. Scott Thomson, former police chief who totally changed policing in Camden, N.J., we need “guardians” of our community, not “warriors seeking to dominate criminals through toughness.”

We would like to see significant changes in policing in Frederick County, especially regarding Black and brown residents, who often feel and/or are intimidated and targeted. We’ve read about a multitude of ways that other communities are addressing this issue, but the direction taken in Camden, N.J. strikes us as most likely to be effective here. Camden is admittedly very much unlike Frederick, but the steps that it took and many of the results (much less crime, less drug dealing, far fewer excessive force complaints against the police, and improved rapport between police and community) lead us to suggest serious consideration of the following here:

Instead of reforms that are unlikely to work, let’s start over.

1) Let officers and deputies go. Start new departments with new rules.

2) Let officers/deputies reapply if their records are good and if they buy into the changes.

3) Put into place plans to raise pay of officers/deputies in recognition of their expected contribution to our communities and of the risks that are inherent in their jobs.

4) Build new educational requirements (that can be met over a period of time) into the new rules and a commitment to fund those educational goals.

Change the culture and the expectations of policing from a warrior mentality to a guardian mentality. We all need to trust that the police are here for all of us, not just the white people among us. Police need to feel that the community as a whole, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, gender identification or socio-economic status (or anything else) trusts them.

Officers/deputies need to be trained in de-escalation issues. It is crucial that they both learn how to avoid initiating/escalating conflict and buy into the mentality and means of de-escalation before using force.

All police need to consider themselves guardians of the community and work to gain the goodwill of residents. Hosting picnics and barbecues, shooting hoops with teens, introducing themselves in a friendly manner, parking their vehicles and doing patrol on foot or bike and chatting with county residents are some ways of building rapport.

Respect and empathy from the police are an absolute must. Just as in teaching, if employees don’t both give and receive respect and empathy, they are in the wrong profession.

Following are some of the quotes that we think are exceptionally valuable from the former chief of police leading the transformation of policing in Camden:

“Sanctity of human life and the Hippocratic ethos of ‘first, do no harm’ were guiding principles.”

“There’s a raging debate right now about ‘defunding’ the police, but it’s missing the point. Communities need police. What they don’t need is a cop with a warrior’s psyche and an occupier’s mentality.”

“As we got to know our neighbors better, we shifted from enforcing the law upon them to upholding the law with them.”

To our elected officials, police departments and sheriff’s office: thank you for looking for ways to make our county and cities safer for, and welcoming to, all of our Frederick County residents and visitors, but most especially for the Black and brown members of our community who have frequently felt neither safe nor welcome.

Mary Antosca is a retired Frederick County Public Schools teacher from Rosemont; Lauren Blackmon is a FCPS teacher and business owner from Frederick; Jessica Batten-Ruddell is a FCPS educator from Frederick and Colleen Hardy-Belt is a FCPS special education assistant from Brunswick.

(68) comments

MDchange

I’m sure the four authors had good intentions when writing this piece, and I’m sure they do great things for our kids in the FCPS. However, their “expertise” and recommendations on

policing are way off. Zero, well supported facts about what’s actually happening in Frederick County. How many ride-alongs have they done (combined) with our local cops? Just curious. It does help to see firsthand what you’re criticizing.

Bkd0850

These four what to be geniuses have the same problem that many people have. That is that no matter what their field of expertise, they all know how to be COPS. They would not tell the plumber how to fix the pipe leak, or the electrician how to do his job, but they all know how to be the police. Reality is they don't have a clue.

DickD

Do we really need to be police to recognize excessive force? Not anymore than knowing when a pipe leaks and it is time to call a plumber.

hayduke2

Kind of like folks telling teachers how to teach. Happens all the time bro.

shiftless88

Or non-scientists spouting off about COVID or global warming

KellyAlzan

I don’t agree with bdk, and I’m not going to spend 13 minutes googling to find something that fits my opinion, and then post a 3

Page long response, and then begrudge anyone for not reading my 3 page thesis. Bet no one else can say this.

KR999

Bet no one else would waste the time saying this.

awteam2000

Reform is needed.

The masses changes being made after the murders of George Floyd, witnessed on TV, Ahmaud Arbery, a black man only guilty of jogging, the outrage when Breonna Taylor killed in her home, has led to a “great awakening”.

Statues of racist are all being removed, Corporations are supporting the cause of “BLM”, Aunt Jemima is no longer on the pancake box, NASCAR has removed the “flag of the Northern Virginia confederate army from their venue, States are removing the rebel insignia from state flags and the Washington Redskins team is changing their mascot, the NFL, the list goes on. All symbols of “White Superiority”.

Racism is very complex. And policing is only one part of the societal changes going on... the ugliest extends beyond that. Changes are happening across the world, all in the middle of a pandemic. But police reform is only a component , a reaction to ugly perception of “those people”, others.

Clearly, there is more crime in predominantly black or minority communities, and it’s clear that those committees are more impoverished, have greater health issues, more likely to be exploited and have social and educational despair, subjects to their environments.

It’s also clear that “old school” policing was designed to isolate those people, not to deescalate conflict, and definitely not meant to address core issues.

For the last three and half years we have been in a fog of selfishness, “it’s their problem”. You hear “dog whistles” like we will become a “Montgomery County“. What does that mean?

I find it commendable that these folks find their problems as our problems. 👍

PurplePickles

I really like your version of the re imagined police force and I would to see this implemented here in Frederick. Cops should be guardians for all not warriors for a few, which is what they are now.

I would like to offer my help, what is the next step in this plan? How do we go about doing this?

One small thing the cops around here could do right now that would maybe not make us resent you so much, is flying down the road without lights or sirens on just because you are in a cop car. Also goes for unmarked cars, it's a dead giveaway you are in an unmarked car when you are flying down the road at 100 mph.

Why do I have to follow the speed limit and the cops don't?

If they can speed without accountability then we should be able to also?

Cops are not accountable to anyone for anything and that has to stop!

bosco

Good point about speeding cops, purple. A car pool I was in for a while seemed to hit Germantown about the same time the county mounties got onto 270 at shift change They would always speed a little bit in the HOV lane so we would tuck in behind them several lengths back and use them as a "pace car".

Cops should set the good example, though. Obey the posted speed limit and put down the cellphone.

[ninja]

Dwasserba

Thank you.....teachers

yogib

What is missing in this discussion is Sheriff Accountability. Why would we let a Sheriff run wild without specific accountability to a County Council or Executive? I know Jenkins says the he is accountable to the taxpayer but that is a fraud. How many of our taxpayers really know why he is uneducated in this day and age and why he cannot recruit new officers. For the first time seeing his arguments against body cameras, should wake everybody up to what is really happening in our County law enforcement and "it ain't pretty "nor in our best interest.

DickD

We give him - the Sheriff a budget for specific purposes, he chooses how to spend that money that even a judge had a problem with. Tell me how that is right!

KellyAlzan

The county is growing so rapidly and has become so diverse, it’s time for the county to restructure law enforcement. Time for a county police department. Need a referendum at the next county election asking voters is they want a county police dept.

Kai Hogan is too busy foolin around with fruitless ballon laws.

I'm hoping I can get Steve McKay to start looking into a county police dept.

gdunn

Police are already trained in "de-escalation" Literally every call they go on they are "de-escalating" People high, drunk or in mental crisis often will not be "de-escalated" and not at fault of the police.

Dwasserba

[thumbup]And you know it if you've seen it.

PurplePickles

yeah we have seen what happens when they can't de-escalate the person they just pull out their gun and shoot them dead, problem solved and no worries because they aren't held accountable and they know it so they just shoot away.

gdunn

Couldn't be farther from the truth.

bosco

You've been playing too many video games and watching too many movies, purple. Your view of the streets is a bit twisted.

[ninja]

MD1756

No, every call they go on is not a de-escalation call nor is there a need for de-escalation on some calls. The end of January, the police showed up to my house after 11 pm to let me know that my brother had been found dead at work at his desk (natural causes). The officer was professional and sympathetic.

While anything can be improves and should continually improve, I don't believe items 1 and 2 are the way to do it. If as the writer believes/hopes "We’re sure (at least hopeful) that many of the officers and deputies in the county, including Frederick City Police, Brunswick Police, Thurmont Police and the Sheriff’s Office, are good and decent men and women, but even they are caught in the military-like culture of policing." there should be no need for firing all police and requiring they reapply. That sends the wrong message (guilty until proven innocent, would be a moral killer, and runs the risk of losing good people to another community that might pay more and appreciate then more. Do a better job of hiring new police and a better job of weeding out ones that are not up to par.

jwhamann

They came up with this at the their last bridge club meeting.

Berryman

Although I do not posses a hyphenated last name, I did post this initial thought in sympathy to these authors on http://mediahooker1.blogspot.com/2020/06/defunding-cops-why-we-now-resent-thin.html .

That said, One can't assure a social worker is on all domestic violence calls, because sometimes they become very violent.

Also, Jenkins is super qualified to do his job, and was ELECTED in a competitive process in this county. That was not an accident.

Lastly, 287(g) speaks directly to the anti gang war, and dangerous illegals; why defund that?

And..... The Deaf are capable of understanding police direction... to believe you are in danger pushing a shopping cart is infantile..... As a protest leader said in his intro meeting........

KellyAlzan

You comment shows how little you know / understand professional law enforcement.

Trumpkins lacks the qualifications to lead a professional law enforcement agency.

His biggest accomplishment that he listed in his candidacy marketing material was "treasurer of the Lewistown Vol Fire Dept. And that's no fib.

Trumpkins never once attempted to take an exam to advance to corporal.

Trumpkins never once filled in as "acting corporal".

Trumpkins never took any further educational courses past high school.

His case closure rate - lowest in the FCSO at that time.

Ok, now, go look at the credentials of the former Washington DC Chief of Police. A female. Seriously, google her name. And read her credentials. It w ill take you no less than 10 minutes to read through qualifications.

Trumpkins is anything but "qualified".

Oh, and his stealing of his competitor candidate signs - impressive, right?

veritas

[offtopic] It's no longer surprising, but it is becoming increasingly annoying that whenever an issue is being addressed and an argument being put forward that you are either too lazy or too ill informed to address coherently, you yell "TRUMP" as if it were some kind of logic grenade that destroys all further discussion. Transparently ineffective and tedious.

KellyAlzan

I responded to the comment with facts. Known Trumpkins long before he announced candidacy. Long before.

I’m sorry that you do not care for the facts.

Thanks for reading my comments :)

DickD

[lol] I like it!

bosco

Hah hah hah, veritas. The Trump grenade.[ninja]

phydeaux994

“BIDEN”

sdm817

Maybe you should run and see how well you do. You seem to know everything. Elected four times. Do you understand that?

shiftless88

sdm817; are you claiming that anyone who wins four elections is "qualified"?

KellyAlzan

Elections are POPULARITY contests. Period. Winning an election and qualifications are two different things.

Donald Trump and Kai Hagen “won” elections, too...

KellyAlzan

Lyrics to a

Metallica song “it’s not what you know it’s who you know”

PurplePickles

I read your blog, it sounds like you pretty much agree with hyphenated last name people that wrote the above article.

Also you can send a cop with the social worker, they can work as a team.

What do consider super qualified when it comes to Jenkins? Maybe you could write a blog on Jenkins qualifications?

Are gangs and dangerous illegals really that much of a problem or are they being used to scare you into believing something that isn't true?

DickD

There will always be lemmings.

micky

Every time I comment on the rise in property taxes in FredCo I'm told to "move" if I don't like it. Maybe the commenters should move to where there are "marshmallow skies" and police with "emotional service animals" at the ready and maybe "safe spaces" where no one is "triggered" and everyone obeys the law all the time.

shiftless88

Micky; did you look back at the property tax rates over time in FredCo? The rate hasn't really risen much. Therefore, the increase in rate represents income you are getting at a low tax rate due to the increase in your property value.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed shiftless, but the tax is collected annually, while the increased value in one's home is not realized until the dwelling is sold. That sale may not be until after the homeowner's death, and if so, they never see a penny of that increased value.

shiftless88

Many people move out of their houses to downsize or move into a retirement community. But in any case, the "income" from the increased value is not taxed so that's a pretty good deal. You can also use that wealth for other things without selling the house. I mean, it's not perfect but let's be accurate: people are angry because their house is skyrocketing in value. I'd be fine with decreasing annual taxes and adding on a big capital gains tax when it is sold.

DickD

Still, you don't pay taxes on that money until you sell, which is what makes REIT so good, Gabe.

gabrielshorn2013

Many may, shiftless, and many more do not. I'll call these folks "homers", in that once they have paid off the mortgage to their home, they're settled until something makes that impossible, like a debilitating health condition. Other than that, these folks will die in their homes, because it's well...their home. They feel stable and comfortable in their home. They will not risk use the value in their homes to use as collateral for loans, and risk losing their home. Therefore, they will not see the increased value in their home. Your capital gains idea is another inheritance or "death tax" that folks have railed against for decades.

Dwasserba

I enjoyed your deft description of utopia. Haha Don't move

sdm817

[thumbup]

jsklinelga

:"1) Let officers and deputies go. Start new departments with new rules."

I stopped reading after this.

Truthfully my first thought was that this should be the BOE not the police department that should be completely restructured. Than I read that all the authors were part of the BOE. It reaffirmed my opinion..

Has anyone ever noticed that the life threatening work situation faced by LEO's is often taken for granted. Spoke of, but most often just assumed part of the job. Few could do it.

During the CoVid epidemic other groups such as first respondents, EMT's, nurses. Doctors. Health care staff, grocery store clerks, truck drivers etc.etc. etc. faced life threatening risk with little complaint. They were essential.

The same can not be said, unequivocally, of the teacher's union. During this unprecedented time if anything needs a complete restructuring it is the BOE. That is a reality.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

shiftless88

jsk; I agree that that was a poor way to lead it off. However, you are factually incorrect in that none of these three are on the BOE. (https://www.fcps.org/boe/meet-the-board )

shiftless88

Speaking of BOE, wasn't that you saying recently how you get annoyed when people in the comments do not address the story? So why are you dragging the BOE into this?

jsklinelga

Shiftless88

All the authors made a point of identifying themselves as being associated with the BOE.

hayduke2

I must have missed it. Exactly where did they make a point of identifying themselves with the BOE. Specific phrase please.

shiftless88

jsk: to keep the discussion factual, could you please and cut and paste where they said they were associated with the BOE? I see they used to work for the FCPS system but that is nowhere near considered "being associated with the BOE" any more than a government employee is "associated with the White House"

bosco

Hayduke2 it's in italics at the end of the article. [ninja]

hayduke2

Bosco- because they work or have worked for FCPS doesn’t make them associated with the BOE.

Dwasserba

"2) Let officers/deputies reapply if their records are good and if they buy into the changes." That was next aftet you stopped reading.

bosco

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][ninja]

francesca_easa

Hallelujah JSK!

niceund

This diatribe is so far off base it's not even worth reading. The police in Fredco are everything these writers are asking for. However, they MUST enforce the law. My suggestion is that these writers and anyone else who feels like this, do a ride along with an officer and see what they are faced with on a daily shift. You need to aim your anger at those breaking the law not those enforcing it. When social workers and other mental health professionals start handling calls for service, we will see how that works. Heaven help us all.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

Lemmy

We're on a path to becoming the crime-ridden dump that is Montgomery County.

phydeaux994

The people in Montgomery “Crime Ridden Dump” County are a lot happier with their lives than you are here in Frederick “Hate Everybody” County. I know, I’ve lived in both. FC is a beautiful County to live in when retired but if we still had young kids I sure wouldn’t raise them in this mean spirited negative minded backward atmosphere. Where are the best schools in the County now, Lemmy? Urbana, where the MoCo influence is changing the attitudes of the population. Can’t happen fast enough. Thank goodness you let it happen Lemmy. Peace.✌️

Lemmy

Over development, out of control taxes, overpriced real-estate, over regulation, MS-13 in the schools, overburdened child welfare services - what a great dream.

sdm817

We all wish you would go back.

phydeaux994

See what I mean Lemmy? 😂🤣have a helluva great day. ✌️

MD1756

Ha ha ... " 'Hate Everybody' County." That must mean there is no discrimination.

shiftless88

The deputy sheriff who killed the kid in the movie theater clearly needed more training in deescalation

KellyAlzan

Shiftless - exactly.

And not only that, but its widely known that individuals with down syndrome upset easily and that individuals with down syndrome require a different approach.

shiftless88

And it is not exactly unknown in society that this is the case, not to mention that it is visibly obvious.

Pisces

Agree!

Pisces

Absolute nonsense!

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!