I love Baltimore. I do. I hope my book makes Baltimore a better place to live and police. But one of my fears is that my book will just contribute to Baltimore's image problem. I wish I could write a book that talks about the good food and good people and good neighborhoods of Charm City. But I didn't. Instead I wrote a book about good police in a bad area.
Slogans like Believe, The City That Reads, and Greatest City in America don't seem to have much of an impact. My slogan: Baltimore--it means well. The next best slogan in undoubtedly John Waters's: Baltimore--it's shock you!.
Anyway, I'm sure I'm missing some great contributers to Baltimore's Bad Image. But anyway, here are my nominees for the 21st Century:
The Baltimore Bad Image Award
2000: Ray Lewis. Leads the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Lied to police about something he may have known about a murder investigation.
2001: The Great Train Tunnel Fire. Burns for days. Cuts off the Northeast’s supply of concentrated orange juice (I don’t make this stuff up)
2002: Darrell Brooks, firebombed the Dawson home, killed the whole family.
2003: The Wire, Season 2
2004: Ed Norris, former Police Commissioner (my police commissioner) goes to prison on felony charges.
2005: Another season of the Wire
2007: Homicides increase to 282. This is the most since I was in the academy in 1999. Hopefully the "magic" 300 number will never be reached again.
Here's hoping Baltimore gets some good news in 2008.