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Melvin Russell: I love being a police officer, but we need reform

Baltimore,MD-4/20/15 -- Travis Robertson of Baltimore has a few words with Lt. Col. Melvin Russell outside of the Western District Police Station. Protest outside of the Western District Police Station after Freddie Gray died while in police custody. Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun #5553

Baltimore,MD-4/20/15 — Travis Robertson of Baltimore has a few words with Lt. Col. Melvin Russell outside of the Western District Police Station. Protest outside of the Western District Police Station after Freddie Gray died while in police custody. Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun #5553

We’ve invested so much in police departments as protectors that we have forgotten what it means to serve our communities, says Baltimore Police officer Lt. Colonel Melvin Russell. It’s led to coldness and callousness, and it’s dehumanized the police force. After taking over as district commander in one of Baltimore’s toughest neighborhoods, Russell instituted a series of reforms aimed at winning back the trust of the community and lowering the violent crime rate. “Law enforcement is in a crisis,” he says. “But it’s not too late for all of us to build our cities and nation to make it great again.”

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