As violence explodes in Baltimore, city to launch program where mental health professionals will respond to certain 911 calls

BALTIMORE, MD- As crime explodes in Baltimore, Maryland, as it is in overwhelmingly Democrat-run cities across the country, the mayor of that city announced a pilot program which will direct some 911 calls to mental health professionals instead of police WJZ-13 in the Charm City announced.

For many residents of Baltimore, it has been anything but charming.

 

Mayor Brandon Scott, in announcing the controversial program, said that it is not about defunding the police, but rather directing police resources where they are most needed, focusing on violent offenders rather than dealing with persons having behavioral health issues.

Scott announced the program which will divert those 911 calls—averaging about 36 per day—to specialized counselors.

“Think about the sheer number of hours that our police officers are actually out dealing with something that they’re not trained to do, versus being out there going after someone who’s committed an armed carjacking,” Scott said.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen supports the project.

“You wouldn’t call a lawyer to deliver a baby, and we shouldn’t call upon our police to have to respond to all these other situations,” he said.

Last week, the Baltimore Sun reported that the program, called “911 Diversion Pilot,” is designed “to connect callers with the most appropriate resources and responses for their needs.”

The report said that pursuant to a 2015 study from the Treatment Advocacy Center, “people with untreated mental illness were more likely to die during an altercation with police officers than those without mental illness.”

During that Friday news conference, Scott reiterated that the pilot program is not about defunding the police.

“This pilot is not about defunding the police, but rather acknowledging that the police department cannot tackle violent crime, our fire department cannot tackle public health and mental emergencies—and everything else.”

The Blaze reported that the program when it starts in June is being sold as not costing the city additional moneys as Baltimore already has existing contracts with all nonprofit organizations providing the counselors’ care and participation in the new program.

One Baltimore resident, Denise Mack said the violence is out of control and needs to stop.

“[I]t’s just getting worse,” she told the television outlet. “You’ve got to go to funerals, got to see your son or nephew lying there. It’s bad. I just wish everyone would get themselves together.”

Crime statistics show that homicides in Baltimore have increased by 15% compared to the same time period last year.

Another woman interviewed by WJZ, who didn’t want to show her face lives near the area where two teenagers were shot earlier this week.

“People are dying right and left. Every other day you hear somebody shooting somebody,” she said.

One victim was in the city to attend a wedding when he was shot and killed. Efraim Gordon was visiting Baltimore from Israel when he was killed Monday.

Gordon’s family raised money to send his body back home for burial and has vowed not to rest until police solve his killing. There is currently a $30,000 reward being offered by Metro Crime Stoppers for arrest and conviction of the suspect(s).

“We are not going to leave any stone unturned,” his family vowed in a statement.

Tuesday, two women were beaten inside their West Baltimore store with a cinderblock. The two AAPI women of Korean descent were inside the Wonderland Liquor Store on Pennsylvania Ave when the unprovoked attack occurred.

Surveillance video showed one of the women walking to the front of the store to close shop when she was approached by a man wearing a red shirt, who pulled her to the ground and started beating her with a cinder block. The other woman in the store stepped in to help and she was likewise struck in the head.

 

Shortly afterward, Baltimore Police arrested 50-year-old Daryl Doyles for assaulting the two women, charging him with aggravated assault.

According to sources, the Baltimore Police Department is currently down some 700 police officers, with two precincts being forced to close due to lack of staffing.

This is part of a pattern all across the country where officers, tired of being punching bags for the radical left, are either taking early retirement or heading for more peaceful environs in the suburbs.

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One such department where police officers are leaving in droves is Portland, Oregon, which has seen almost nightly riots for nearly a year, putting officers at the end of their ropes. Coupled with zero support from the city council, officers are leaving to either retire or for greener pastures. For more on that:

DIG DEEPER

ORTLAND, OR– Last year, Law Enforcement Today reported that Portland police officers were “fleeing in unprecedented” numbers, as a direct result of the “defund the police” movement. 

At the time, LET reported that numerous officers were said to be trying to make moves to leave the Portland Police Bureau, whether by transferring to other police departments, outright resigning mid-career, or cashing in on what retirement benefits are readily available. 

Now, on Sunday, April 4th, the Oregonian, the city’s main newspaper, published an article offering an explanation as to why many officers have decided to leave.  

The Oregonian reported that a total of 115 officers have left the department since July 1, 2020.

They reported that this number represents:

“one of the biggest waves of departures in recent memory.”

According to the Oregonian, they reviewed 31 exit interview statements from these fleeing officers, and they reportedly showed a certain level of disillusion with the job.

A retiring detective reportedly wrote in one that the community showed officers “zero support”, Fox News reported.

The detective reportedly said:

“The city council are raging idiots, in addition to being stupid. Additionally, the mayor and council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftist and anarchist fantasy. What’s worse is ppb command (lt. and above) is arrogantly incompetent and cowardly.”

Portland was one of the major cities in the country that saw some of the worst violence and destruction following the death of George Floyd. While more officers were needed to try to combat the violence plaguing the streets, Portland’s City Council voted to defund the police, and essentially tie their hands. 

Law Enforcement Today reported that the Portland City Council’s folly has led to a 2000 percent increase in homicides.

This is hardly surprising, as cities across the country which implemented similar defunding measures or otherwise tied the hands of their police departments have experienced similar results. Crime is exploding everywhere.

The city experienced 55 killings in 2020 and the paper pointed out that the victims ranged from eight months to 71 years old, Fox News reported.

Ted Wheeler, the city’s mayor, told the Oregonian in an email that the city has a “laser focus on building a better public safety system.”

Wheeler went on to say:

“And, as we pursue change to meet Portlanders’ needs and expectations, we must focus on support and care for our employees.”

Fox News reported that last summer, a specialized police unit focused on curbing gun violence, which had long faced criticism for disproportionately targeting people of color, was disbanded. Wheeler announced the unit’s disbanding last June and reassigned its 34 officers to patrol. He described it as an opportunity to reimagine policing and redirected $7 million in police funds toward communities of color.

The first black woman to ever be elected to the City Council, Jo Ann Hardesty, was the individual who pushed hardest to defund the police department. 

Hardesty tried to paint officers as racist when she presented a 2018 audit that showed nearly 60% of the individuals stopped by the gun violence team were black. However, according to statistics, in 2020, a total of 55 homicides took place, and nearly half of them were black people who lived in Portland’s historically black neighborhoods, thus leading one to believe that the gun violence team was in fact stopping the criminals, not just the “black people”.

Wheeler announced earlier this month that he would seek $2 million in one-time funding for police, other agencies and outreach programs to try to stem rampant gun violence in the city, Fox News reported.

The Associated Press said Wheeler’s move represented an “about-face.”

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Here is more on how the “defund the police” movement has negatively impacted the city of Portland.

PORTLAND, OR – With violent crime rising within the city of Portland, officers within the Portland Police Bureau are struggling to keep up with quick responses to various calls and closings of active investigations.

Evidence of this surge in crime that is hampering police resources can be showcases from the period that transpired overnight from March 30th into the morning of 31st – where Portland police or called to investigate a deadly stabbing and two shooting incidents.

Lieutenant Greg Pashley, a public information officer with the PPB, described the details surrounding the southwest Portland stabbing incident:

“So, the first one happened about midnight down on Southwest First and Southwest Ankeny. And this was a call where officers responded to an assault with a weapon. When they arrived they found someone who had apparently been stabbed.”

The victim in that incident reportedly died from their sustained injuries, with police not yet having identified a suspect in the case.

Prior to the fatal stabbing, officers got called out to northeast Portland for a reported shooting incident, which Lieutenant Pashley described the circumstances of that case:

“Officers arrived and found a person had apparently been shot. That person was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”

As for the suspect, police reportedly pursued the individual throughout the city until the suspect crashed a pickup truck through a fence in Mill Park. Lieutenant Pashley says officers attempted to talk the suspect down for several hours:

“That was the beginning of about four or five hours of conversation, negotiation. They called our Special Emergency Reaction Team and Crisis Negotiation Team who came and took over the scene.”

Police were said to have utilized CS gas in an effort to draw the suspect out of the vehicle; however, the suspect was said to have turned his own weapon on himself and committed suicide.

Not long after that incident, police were called to yet another shooting, which this one occurred in north Portland on Lombard at a 7-Eleven. According to Lieutenant Pashley, this shooting incident also proved to be fatal for the victim:

“There was some kind of incident in a convenient store or a convenient store parking lot. hat person was transported to the hospital in the ambulance. It’s an adult male and that man did not survive that gun shot wound. So, that is yet another homicide that’s under investigation.”

From what the PPB lieutenant says , that brings the total number of homicides within Portland for 2021 to 25. Yet, the police bureau has been dealing with this increase in violence since last year:

“We are at 69 homicides since July 1 of 2020, so these homicide detectives are essentially buried under their cases.”

According to Lieutenant Pashley, Portland Police have brought in more detectives and police officers to help work on some of these shooting investigations, though he says “quite frankly they can’t keep up”:

“What happens is when dozens of officers get tied up on a scene, like the one behind us, it does limit our ability to respond to other calls for service throughout the city.”

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Author: Pat Droney


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