BALTIMORE — Officers getting shot, the constant calls for additional units-- policing in Baltimore City.
Class 1901 knows what they are walking into-- and on Friday night they crossed the stage anyway.
“I just want to reach out to the people,” said graduate Officer D’ara Tatum. “I think me being young maybe make me a little bit more relatable to the people in Baltimore City. If I can reach out to just one person a day that will make a difference.”
At 48-years-old officer Kalman Finkelstein is the oldest new member of BPD.
He said he is also the first Orthodox Jew to join since the 60s.
“The Department should be comprised of what the city is made up of,” Officer Finkelstein said. “The city does have a large percentage of Orthodox Jews in the Northwest.”
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison directed his new team members to build trust in their communities.
At the CC Jackson Rec Center current officers were showing what the vision of a unified community looks like.
“The kids are able to see us as regular people,” said Sgt. Phillip Dixon.
Sgt. Dixon is one of the members of the department that organized the Baltimore Officers Lending Opportunities Program or BOLO.
On Friday night the BOLO Flag Football league started where officers coach young people from their districts.
“We eat pizza together after the game, I’ll throw the football with them, the other officers will coach them,” said Dixon. “They are able to look at us in a different light as regular human beings”
Daquan Mints plays for the Park Heights team.
He said the badge doesn’t make a difference to him because he sees who the officers are as people.
“The younger kids that are coming up that are used to seeing bad stuff when they see another thing it draws their attention,” Mints said. “If we out here playing football and they see us playing football their like they are our age they are not that much older than us. That makes them want to come over here instead of being out there, they are inside the gates watching football.”
The BOLO league will have games every Friday up until the winter.