Thursday, January 29, 2009
A Case Study of Public Policymaking: not naming the cops
Buz has followed with interest the new policy of the Baltimore Police Department in not, generally, releasing the names of officers who shoot or kill citizens.
As a student of public policy, Buz wonders: how did this policy, of all the things to worry about, come to the fore? What brought it onto the agenda? Why? How many officers were threatened because of shooting suspects?
It appears to have been introduced by a new player walking onto the stage: the department's new Public Information Officer. He said, it mimics policies from other big city departments, including New York and Boston, as well as the FBI. And Commissioner Bealefeld himself gave a reasonable explanation of his concerns in a later interview, talking about how the press contacted a wounded officer's kin shortly after the event.
And he said that there were 23 threats against officers last year.
However, the press is outraged. And councilman (future mayoral candidate?) Young is outraged. Other council members are outraged.
Now we don't know where Mr. Guglielmi hails from, but it appears that he did not settle into his new job for very long before igniting this controversy, if in fact he was the genesis of this policy. It does, however, appear that he was not terribly sensitive to the political situation surrounding the police and this community. After a year basking in the praise of reducing homicides, was this the right time to start this New Policy? I dunno (a technical term). I am wondering what other students of public policy making think.