Baltimore police seek recruiting help
Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner announced this morning the Hometown Heroes Project, an effort to recruit community members to find people who want to be police officers. It's a renewed attempt to attract more city residents to the 3,000-member force.
"It's a way for someone to give back to their community while making Baltimore a safer place," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters at a news conference this morning. Residents who sign up will be trained in the recruiting process and procedures.
Last year, despite budget shortfalls exceeding $120 million, the mayor promised to hire up to 400 new police officers. The department had been losing officers to attrition at a faster pace than hiring.
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that he began his career as a cadet when he was 19 years old. He said part of the program is also to attract cadets who could become future police officers.
Bealefeld started as a cadet in May 1981 on the midnight shift -- he attended community college during the day -- on what was called the "hot desk." His job was handle warrants. He also compared fingerprints of newly arrested suspects to prints on file. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said he used a magnifying glass "It's now what could be considered CSI-like, minus the technology," the spokesman said.
At the news conference, Bealefeld said: "We need to fill 300 positions over the next several months," Bealefeld said. "I've worked my way through the ranks. None of that I think would have been possible without the grounding, experience and start I got here when I was 19 years old." He said that being an officer "is not about car chases. ... What you do every day is help people to be safe, and help people across the city make their lives better. You can't get that experience through a recruitment poster. You really have to live that. ... What we really need are people who are dedicated to service."
Anyone interested in the program is urged to call the Baltimore Police Department recruitment section at 410-396-2340 or visit the department's web site.