Many people who see police cars sitting on the parking lot of the Dundalk Moose building declare that the police who park on the lot are not doing anything good. That idea is far from correct, and I figured it out decades ago. The Moose parking lot is a strategic location of high value for good police work. It has been going on for decades. It is like a guard post, where patrols or responses to 911 calls go out from.
I figured it out long ago that the Moose is a good spot for cops being where they can see and hear things happening behind the middle school, out across the sports fields, up towards the high school and community college, vehicular and foot traffic (mostly school children) on Delvale, and down along the businesses on Merritt Ave.. There are several 24-hr convenience store gas stations within a block, and those type places attract criminal activities. There is plenty of through traffic - with tractor trailers plus school buses included - to and from Merritt Blvd, Peninsula Expressway, Sparrows Point, the Key Bridge, Baltimore City, etc. to monitor.
Fire Station Engine 6 is right across the street, where police can use the bathroom. They can also team right up with the firefighters leaving the firehouse on emergency calls, where police service is needed along with fire service. And that can make the difference between life and death in many situations. If you live in the area, or are in the area, a 911 call for help responded to from the Moose lot may be from you.
Eighteen years ago, I was helping raise my sister's grandson, in my house 4 blocks from the Moose. The little fellow swallowed a penny, and I called 911. I thought he was going to choke to death. Then in 3 or 4 minutes a police officer was at my door and came striding in - with deep concern written all over him - into my home carrying an obviously First Aid Bag with equipment for saving the child's life. The cop feared the boy was choking to death. That officer was relieved to find no kid dying, and the EMS who then arrived were advised by their emergency room contact that kids often swallow pennies, and then harmlessly pass them out in few days. I don't care where that officer was when he took the call, but if it was on the Moose lot that would be a 3 or 4 minute response.
Police officers there at the Moose can quickly respond to 911 calls coming from all directions. Officers can quickly respond to criminal problems, medical emergencies, and fires occurring by heading up Delvale and out past it towards Eastern Ave; or quickly to Stanbrook, Inverness and out further that way towards Berkshire and Eastpoint, and even to North Point Village, or out the beltway or to Essex for backup calls. They can easily head down Peninsula Expressway towards Sparrows Point/Edgemere/Ft Howard, or up Sollers Point Rd. to all the neighborhoods off of Sollers, then Watersedge and Turner Station; up to Dundalk Village Shopping Center, St. Helena, Old Dundalk, Dundalk Marine Terminal area; also down Dunmanway to Logan Elementary, Merritt Point Park, etc.
They sit on the lot filling out their endless, necessary (at least mandated) paperwork, do investigative research online and over cell phones. They eat. They talk with each other about criminal cases, public safety weaknesses and strengths in the patrol area, and proper police procedure; about people passing by whom one officer has never seen but another there knows that the person is a good citizen or a criminal. Pedestrians and drivers who know cops may be there, or happen to see patrol cars there, can go over and alert them to crimes, accidents, fires, medical emergencies, etc.
Police cannot be expected to drive around and around on their shift, looking to stop, prevent and solve crimes and not stop driving till they do. There is a huge difference between police patrol driving and all other types - police steadily remain tensed a bit, as they anticipate how to respond to criminal activities, road accidents, medical emergencies, etc; they study various public safety aspects in the area, always having to wonder if their death or other injuries by criminals or accident will occur. A good patrol officer must be aware of as much of their surroundings as possible, listening for sounds of problems while glancing or looking intently here and there in different directions. Also for odors, including fire, gas, chemicals, dead bodies, etc..
I've worked driving taxis for Dundalk companies, and in busy times driven around the community, and into and out of it for hours on end. As much as 6 to 8 hours before stopping to take a break. Driving long hours makes a person tired. Cabbies suffer fears of crime, also, but taxi drivers avoid trouble, while police look to stop and/or prevent other peoples' trouble. Police remain prepared to jump out and go at trouble, knowing they sometimes encounter hostile, angry, scared and/or psychotic people with weapons. That intensity wears a person down, and inflicts lifelong negative effects of PTSD on officers' lives. Along with their loved ones' lives.
I have lived more of my life in those areas that the Moose lot affords good police access to and from than anywhere else. I graduated from Dundalk High School in '68, and have attended many classes at the community college next to DHS. I've visited relatives and friends all over those areas. I have shopped, worked, ridden and driven in the areas. Taken Sunday rides. Gone to many celebratory events. All for sixty-some-years.
I have walked past that Moose a thousand times, day and night, in all kinds of weather. In the 70's, two police cars did a stop and ID check plus a wants & warrants thing on me, when I was walking home between the Middle School and Moose from a girlfriend's apartment late at night there. I didn't like being stopped like that, but appreciate that they could have been nabbing a guy with heavy warrants out on him and kept that criminal from committing more crime in my neighborhood. I ain't angry at the law, but at the bad guys causing fears.
Walking can be very scary at times, and I have avoided being a victim of crimes then by strategic thinking and actions. Including right there in that lot when no police were present. They aren't there more than being there, and should not be there the majority of the time. I sure wish they'd a been there, because I scared the perpetrator away and he went on to be arrested a few hours later as he was committing serious crimes against others. Thirty-five years in the penitentiary worth of repeat crimes, and he had recently been released from decades in prison for the previous ones. And while those new crimes were happening, I had gone right to a friend's place a few blocks away to borrow a pistol to go hunt that #*****#~~~ criminal down, but the gun owner was out. Yes indeed.
When I learned that perpetrator had been arrested, I went up to the police station and told them I can witness that he was in the area if that helps. I said, "He walked past me holding his hands out from his sides a bit (like challenged gunslingers in movies), which kept his writs from rubbing against a weapon tucked under his shirt into his pants, and his shirt tail was out and helping conceal the weapon, which I suspect is a knife." An officer in the station walked past holding a large kitchen knife and told me that that is what I had accurately perceived was there. My life experiences of seeing or not seeing police cars on the Moose lot have been that intense.
I have military experience, plus have done civilian security patrol work. I am experienced at searching for and guarding against criminals and our nation's enemies. At all times of day and night in all kinds of weather. And, like most kids, I grew up feeling and thinking protectively of my family, community & country.
Consequently, I thought all these things over a few decades ago. Because, like many other people, I did not appreciate the cops sitting there, until I thought it through and realized how well that location for parked patrol cars serves my hometown.
And, you know, many folks in the general public prefer police sitting in their vehicles where cops can be seen on duty and also there's a chance of errant, or overworked, officers being discovered if napping. Or worse.
That Moose parking lot is a good strategic location of high value for police work and public safety concerns. Unappreciative people need to face those facts and appreciate them.
Many other people do.