Folks, it’s not easy writing about an agency with which I spent 39 years, but there comes a time when it has to be done.
This is one of those times.
Some of you may remember an article I wrote for a different site regarding the police response and the now-deceased former head of the PRC, Jim O’Toole. One thing that should be noted is that I was vilified in a whole page of attacks by officers from a different area. I promised that I would print their comments in my next column, but–strangely enough–within a few moments of that promise all of those comments were deleted.
Well, it looks like not much has changed, even after Chief Johnson retired and former Chief Terry Sheridan took over.
On Christmas day, my neighbors contacted me regarding a vehicle parked in the middle of the street with blaring music that contained profanity. People contact me because they fear some sort of retaliation. So, to help out, I walked down to the vehicle and spoke to a man and woman, who asked what right I had to ask them (in a nice way) to turn down the music. I advised them that I am a retired police officer, and I explained the laws to them.
Needless to say, I was told to “F off.”
Here is a link to what happened next in vivid detail:
What that report did not tell you was that, when asked by the suspect who called the police, one of the responding officers pointed to someone else’s house. That was incorrect. I was the caller.
That, in my humble opinion, violates rules and regulations and is conduct unbecoming. No officer has the right to out someone as a complainant, especially the wrong person.
After that issue was resolved, one of the neighbors had another conversation with the homeowner. It seemed that a basketball hoop installed in front of the house had quickly evolved into a gathering spot for a rather large group of juveniles, whose loud cursing–coupled with the constant bouncing of basketballs–reverberated through the surrounding homes. The balls were bouncing off cars and rattled off the flimsy metal backboard.
When this issue was brought up at the Dundalk Precinct community relations meeting, an officer told the community president that the hoop was in violation of the law. Afterwards, neighbors continued to call me about the issue over and over.
Finally, one day I received a call from a neighbor who saw the police in front of the house. I thought maybe that would end the nightmare. Sadly, it did not. I even called the station to thank Lt. Scherba, who I had spoken to several times in an effort to solve this problem.
How wrong I was.
I have received other calls from neighbors about this same problem. The sad part is that, within walking distance, there is a school that could accommodate the basketball players and grant the neighbors some peace.
I have even called the 911 center to find out how many times complaints were registered about this problem. No help there. I wonder how that can be when the County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz, touts his great move toward making sure that the 911 center properly tracks calls and dispatches. I guess it’s kind of like the STAT program–unworkable.
With that, the 911 center transferred me to the Dundalk Precinct, where I spoke to an officer by the name of Brewer, ID #5900.
I told him that I was looking for the number of calls from my address, and the conversation turned to the problem of the basketball hoop. Officer Brewer asked me if the hoop was in the alleyway, but I explained that it is in the street. He then told me to call code enforcement, which is useless and not the right answer..
In addition to that, Officer Brewer then asked me if I approached the group in a civil manner to deal with the issue. I then asked him if he was listening to what I had said? I told him that at first I did approach the situation and was meet with the F word. And then I said to him are you telling me that I should do your job, not to mention this issue was brought up at the community meeting held at the precinct with a community relations officer.
I told him that the law states that the police handle county roads, which is where this hoop is located. I also mentioned the domestic noise violations and the dangerous situation involving youngsters playing in the middle of the road, where cars regularly speed by. Officer Brewer reiterated his claim of the law, but he could not state the actual verbiage to me.
Before our conversation ended, I asked him to call me back after he read the law which the community relations officer was familiar with.
So, after weeks of calling the police over what should have been a simple issue, nothing has been resolved at any level.
By the way didn’t Council Crandell just address this issue on tape?
To that end, I will say that the new Chief of Police, Terri Sheridan, is scheduled to speak at the Dundalk Police station. You can bet that the Post will be there to capture video of some tough questions that will be asked … if he has the courage to make an appearance.
The Post will also make sure this column is sent directly to the chief and the county executive.
It seems that people won’t need to wait for the Fourth of July to see fireworks.