BALTIMORE, Md. (CNN) — A Baltimore police officer by day and a hip-hop artist by night.
Officer Joshua Jackson is using his love of rapping to spread positivity about law enforcement and to bridge the gap.
In recent years, crime has dominated the news in Baltimore. Each of the last four years has ended with more than 300 victims of homicide and local rapper “Saint” knows the names of more than a few.
“I’ve seen a lot of people die and I’m tired of it,” he said.
So Saint is writing positive rap hoping to change minds and save lives.
Saint’s lyrics are born out of tragedies that he’s seen up close as Officer Joshua Jackson, with the Baltimore Police Department.
I want to be able to affect the youth so they know that you don’t necessarily have to turn to a gun.
– Officer Joshua Jackson, aka “Saint”
Rapping came first, as a teenager. He joined the BPD in 2017.
“After I became a police officer I said, ‘well I can combine the two,'” said Jackson
When the higher-ups in the department heard his track about being a BPD officer, ‘Baltimore’s Finest’ they teamed up to make a music video.
“It talks about us, but it really is talking about people. You see kids, you see officers, you see the community and the officers telling his story in a very different way than police generally in our culture tell stories about the work we do,” Michael Harrison, Baltimore’s Police Commissioner said.
Officer Jackson knows that Baltimore’s challenges will require more than music to overcome, but he says it’s helping to open dialogue and that’s a start.
It means my message is reaching people. It’s powerful.