Following is the text of a letter sent by Ian Macfarlane, President of the Roland Park Civic League, to the members of our state legislative delegation.
For Roland Park residents who are interested in this issue and wish to contact the state legislative delegation members, follow the links on each representative’s name for mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Dear State Representatives,
I am writing on behalf of the Roland Park Civic League and the residents of the Roland Park community to express our concern about the high utilization of Baltimore City Police Officers responding to accidents and other traffic incidents that occur on the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83).
The responsibility for the stretch of I-83 from the City/County line to President Street currently falls on the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) and specifically on the BCPD resources of the Northern and Central Districts. With the severe shortage of police officers in Baltimore City, we feel that there is an urgent need to get the Maryland State Police to take over responsibility for this stretch of I-83. They already patrol the section in Baltimore County and they are especially trained for highway patrol. With accidents occurring daily, and sometimes more than once a day, the burden on the BCPD has become overwhelming. In order to maintain the safety of officers, rescue personnel, and the public, it is often necessary to shut down the roadway in one direction. This requires a minimum of three police cars that must be diverted from neighborhood patrol duties for periods sometimes stretching to as much as two hours. The patrolling of, and response to, communities on both sides of the highway are seriously impacted by these frequent events.
In the past, it appears that jurisdictional issues interfered with the role of the Maryland State Police in Baltimore City, but now there are protocols in place for cooperation and the Jones Falls is a very discrete highway that can be managed as a discrete unit. In addition, this is a roadway that carries traffic from throughout the region. Most of the drivers are not from Baltimore City; they are work commuters, or travelling to and from sporting events.
Easing the burden of policing I-83 from the City/County line to President Street would enhance BCPD’s ability to patrol the neighborhoods on both sides of I-83 in the Northern and Central Districts. With Maryland State Police enforcement, we might also see a decrease in the excessive speeds and a reduction in accidents. We need your help to make this happen. We recognize that the State Police are not going to volunteer to do this, so it is going to take some work on the part of the State legislative delegation – but we believe that it needs to happen, and soon. We hope that you agree that this makes sense and we ask for your support to find creative ways to make this happen.
President, Roland Park Civic League
Cc: Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore City Council
Sharon Green Middleton, Baltimore City Council