TJ Smith, the Chief of Media Relations for the Baltimore Police Department, resigned from his position on Wednesday.
Smith made the announcement in a tweet, linking to a long goodbye letter.
— T.J. Smith (@TJSmithMedia) October 10, 2018
In his letter, he talks about how he loves this city and how he has many people to thank for his many years of service to the department.
I would like to thank former Commissioner Kevin Davis, former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle and Mayor Catherine Pugh for the opportunity to serve as the voice of the Baltimore Police Department. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Chief Tim Altomare and County Executive Steve Schuh for their support as I transitioned from Anne Arundel County to Baltimore; I’m most thankful that they all didn’t try to change me. My style was matter-of-fact, and my goal was to speak to everyone honestly and truthfully in a manner that allowed me to relate to folks from all walks of life.
He continued to talk about the problems plaguing Baltimore and how over time these problems have not gone away, and in some ways gotten worse.
We can’t expect a law enforcement solution alone to solve these catastrophic, systematic socio-economic failures. Too many children in the communities described above have much easier access to blunts, beers, huggies, chicken boxes, Doritos, sweet tea, soda, and more than they do to a fitness center, a salad, or an apple. We then take these same young people who are in essence, under the influence, and send them into schools expecting them to sit still and learn. It’s a recipe for failure, and it’s targeted to specific geographies that are, you guessed it, plagued with violence.
He then goes to talk about hope, how as a city we must be brave and plans that need to be put in place to fix these issues. He wants to focus on schools, education, community beautification projects, reinvesting in housing, and more to fix the city, rather than fixing each problem as it comes.
He then transitions into one of the biggest problems the city is facing, crime.
We must get real about holding the right people accountable; they are violent repeat offenders. The story is a broken record. The same people are responsible for the vast amount of violent crimes. What is also synonymous in most cases is the fact that they received multiple suspended sentences, violated probation, and have consistently shown a propensity towards violence. Some people are just simply bad people and need to be held accountable for their actions.
He concludes with talking about police department crime, accountability for offenders re-entering society, and prison reform.
Smith did not announce where he is going next but he said that he cannot just type this stuff anymore, he needs to get to work addressing the city' issues.
Chief Matt Jablow, the department's Chief Strategic Communications Officer, was named the new Chief Public Information Officer. From 2003 through 2007, Jablow served as the BPD's Director of Public Affairs Officer. Before that, he was an anchor and a reporter at WBAL TV in Baltimore.