Home / National News / Baltimore Cops 'Could Have Been Better Prepared,' Former NYPD Commissioner Says


(BALTIMORE) — In the wake of Monday’s violence in Baltimore that prompted the declaration of a state of emergency and deployment of the National Guard, former New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said the city’s local law enforcement could have been better prepared.

With about 500 National Guard personnel already supporting local law enforcement and plans to increase their presence to 2,000, here is what Kelly, an ABC News consultant, told ABC News Tuesday about the police’s role in Baltimore this week:

1. How well was local law enforcement prepared for Monday’s violence?

Kelly: “Quite frankly…[they] could have been better prepared. The activities over the weekend perhaps should have alerted them to the fact that there was potential for disorder. Hindsight is 20/20.”

2. Could their response have been better?

Kelly: “I think the response could have been different….[I] don’t know how it would have turned out, but I think we could have seen more pro-activity on the part of the police officers last night.”

3. What do you think about bringing in the National Guard?

Kelly: “I think it’s wise, what the governor did. It has a potential downside because national guardsmen are not trained as police officers, are not from the community for the most part, and don’t know the people in Baltimore. And we’ll have to see. Obviously the city government asked for help, and the governor responded. In fact, had to respond.”

4. What about the role of the federal government?

Kelly: “The federal government is doing an investigation, the Justice Department is looking at potential civil rights violations in the Freddie Gray matter. They are not positioned, generally speaking, are not authorized to deploy any resources in a law enforcement-type mode.”

5. Was it a good idea Baltimore closed schools?

Kelly: “I thought the schools should have remained open because it would have kept some potential demonstrators, or violent demonstrators, off the streets. Because if you looked at the video from yesterday, you saw that many of the people engaged in disorderly conduct were people of high school age.”

6. Do you think it will get worse or better in Baltimore this week?

Kelly: “I believe it will get better and I think the focus and the resources that the governor put in will have a significant impact.”

7. Was it a good idea to keep Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles game closed from the public?

Kelly: “I think it’s generally speaking wise to do that. You have 30,000 to 40,000 people coming out….Fans, before they go there, they don’t know what’s going on in the city….You just have sort of a vague notion based on what the media says, so who knows what the attendance would have been like anyway.”

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