Chief of Baltimore Police’s Community Collaboration Division to Speak at Greater Scranton MLK Commission Dinner

Jan 5, 2017

Melvin T. Russell, chief of the Community Collaboration Division of the Baltimore City Police Department, will be the keynote speaker at The Greater Scranton Martin Luther King Commission (GSMLKC) annual celebration and community awards dinner at The University of Scranton, Sunday, Jan. 15. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

The GSMLKC’s theme for 2017 is “peaceful tomorrows,” inspired by a quote from Dr. King: “Wars are poor chisels for carving our peaceful tomorrows.”

In addition to the keynote address, President Judge Michael J. Barrasse of Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas will speak at the awards dinner.

As chief of Baltimore Police’s Community Collaboration Division, Russell is responsible for developing “strategies that produce collaborative partnerships between law enforcement, Baltimore City residents, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, media, other government agencies and nonprofit organizations,” according to the police department’s website. The division’s mission includes the goal of building a healthy two-way dialogue with and within the community and assisting in the nurturing of strong relationships, defining a clear vision for the communities and implementing strategies to reduce crime and blight.

An officer with more than 35 years of service with the Baltimore City Police Department, Russell was the first African-American to graduate as valedictorian of his class at the Baltimore Police Department Academy. He served as a uniformed beat patrol officer and, for 20 years, as an undercover narcotics officer. Later in his career, Russell was promoted to major of Baltimore’s Eastern District, the city’s most violent district. With 130 officers under his command, Russell initiated multiple community, faith-based, school and all shareholder partnerships that brought historic crime reductions to the district.

Tickets for this event are $25 and can be reserved by contacting Jennifer Pennington at the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity by email at or calling 570-941-6645.


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