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Baltimore considering extending contract, boosting pay for consultant to find police candidates

Baltimore’s spending board on Wednesday will consider a contract extension and pay raise — to $100,000 a year — for Tyrone Powers, a former FBI agent and consultant to Mayor Catherine Pugh who the city uses to help identify potential police hires.

The Board of Estimates first approved a $90,000 contract between Powers and the Mayor’s Office of African American Male Engagement in July 2018. On its agenda for Wednesday is a proposal to extend that contract for two more years, paying Powers $95,000 the first year and $100,000 the second.

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Powers’ tasks, according to the agenda, include “identifying and developing individuals interested in careers in law enforcement, criminal justice, and homeland security as well as careers with the Baltimore Police Department.”

Pugh has used Powers as a consultant on criminal justice issues for years, and he sat on her transition team when she first became mayor.

Powers, who maintains Powers Consulting Group, also is on the faculty at Anne Arundel Community College’s Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Institute.

Powers did not respond to a request for comment.

James Bentley, a spokesman for Pugh, said Powers is helping the city shape and expand its police cadet and “Explorers” programs for city youth interested in law enforcement careers, and that his work “complements” the police department’s recruitment efforts by “building the infrastructure to create a pipeline of homegrown talent.”

Pugh has said that hiring more police officers is a top priority of her administration and of new Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. She has said the department is hundreds of officers short, and that Harrison will be taking control over all aspects of the recruitment process to better attract recruits and stem the tide of attrition.

The Baltimore Sun reported last month that the department lost more officers in 2018 than it had hired. It also reported the department left untouched in recent months more than $1.5 million allocated to help it clear out a backlog of recruit background checks that Pugh has blamed in part for trouble hiring.

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