Keenen Green grew up in Parkville. It’s his old neighborhood and he knows it well. Now, in a twist of fate, Green patrols it as a Baltimore County Police Officer assigned to the Towson/ Precinct 6.
“I didn’t always want to be a policeman. When I was in high school, I began looking into careers and the more I read about it, the better it sounded,” said Green, 24.
Green was scheduled to be honored Tuesday by the Baltimore County Police and Community Relations Council as Towson/Precinct 6’s Officer of the Year for 2014. Nominated five times in 2014 as the precinct’s officer of the month, his supervisors chose him three times for that honor.
According to supervisors, wrote Wesley Wood of the police relations council, Green was instrumental in apprehending suspects for, among others, serious assault, first-degree burglary and commercial armed robbery. The most visible case he worked on was the murder at the Welcome Inn in August 2014. Green’s documented information directly led to the arrest of four people involved, including the shooter by the Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit.
Green, the son of Paula and Vernell Green, attended Halstead Academy, a Baltimore County public elementary school, where he credits Gary Dousett, the Baltimore County Police Department’s community outreach officer there, with being as close to a mentor as you can have at that age.
“His attitude, his selflessness” inspired me. “It was a positive experience,” said Green, a graduate of Dumbarton High School Class of 2009, who is studying for an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Community College of Baltimore County. “Now I work with him.”
At the age of 19, Green was hired as a cadet with the police department, where he worked in the Evidence Management Unit until he reached 21, at which point he entered the Baltimore County Police Academy. Six months later, in June 2013, he was sworn in with the graduating rank of officer. He has since been promoted to officer first class.
Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Towson precinct, where has worked for the past two years. “It’s more than what I thought it would be,” Green said of being a policeman. “It’s a huge shift, a mindset, in how people treat you and how I treat people.”
When he talks about a shift, Green, who is African-American, isn’t referring to race. “Most people — 95 percent — treat you the same way,” regardless of race, he said.
Rather, he is talking about being super-cautious in responding to calls, “to making sure everyone goes home safe — the public and me,” said Green, who often responds to 911 calls.
“It’s usually the worst moment of [the caller’s] life. People are very emotional. I listen to both sides without bias. I maintain a level of calm,” he said.
Green also has a way of communicating in other situations that puts people at ease. “You don’t talk down to people. You treat them with some type or respect, and they’re willing to talk to you,” Green said. For example, during the interrogation of a suspect for one crime, Green found out that the man had witnessed the murder at the Welcome Inn, a key factor in helping to solve that crime.
Each of the 10 police precincts in Baltimore County has a Police and Community Relations Council, neighborhood groups that support the precincts. Each precinct council selects an Officer of the Year for that precinct. Capt. Jay Landsman Jr., commander of the Towson Precinct, provided the Towson council with synopses of 2014’s officers of the month for its decision.
Said Landsmann, “Officer Green has a level of maturity and skill beyond his two years’ experience” on the police force.
“It’s not just finding the bad guys. It’s the way Green does interviews, talks to people on the street and gathers information that assists [other officers] in building a case,” Landsman said.
As for Green, he sees himself staying with the police department and, eventually, segueing into the narcotics unit. “I want to get drugs off the street,” said Green, who is proud to be a police officer.
“It’s been a positive experience. I’ve enjoyed the past two years,” he said.
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