A former top spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department is returning to the agency as the city continues to beef up its messaging efforts.
Matt Jablow, who was the department’s chief spokesman from 2003 to 2007, will return next week in a new, $146,000 post as chief of strategic communications.
Jablow is not replacing current chief spokesman T.J. Smith, who will remain in his role overseeing the public information office.
“The commissioner has been very clear that he believes that the department needs to do a more comprehensive job of communicating with the public — not just with news organizations but with residents of Baltimore, with companies, with non-profits, with elected officials. Everybody who has a stake in making Baltimore safer,” Jablow said.
“The commissioner thinks T.J. and his team are doing a terrific job, but they all have their hands full dealing with the day-to-day, and he wants me to come in and take a 30,000-foot view of how we communicate.”
Smith was pulled to the city from Anne Arundel County by previous Commissioner Kevin Davis, but retains his employment with the county where he is on leave. He is working for the city under an unusual arrangement: Anne Arundel is paying $91,570 of his salary, and the city is paying $45,000. In return, two Baltimore narcotics detectives who are being paid by the city have been sent to participate in the county’s heroin task force. City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young and the city police union have criticized the arrangement.
Jablow has spent much of his career as a television news reporter, including for WBAL-TV, where he said he met Commissioner Darryl De Sousa while reporting on a story about De Sousa catching pizza delivery robbers. He said they stayed in touch.
When they were both with the Police Department, he remembers saying to De Sousa that he would be commissioner one day.
“He said, well if I do, you’ve got to come back and be my communications guy,” Jablow said. “I reminded him of that after he was named commissioner.”
Jablow worked for Evergreen Health Care co-op, and more recently has been anchoring for television news on Long Island, N.Y.
Jablow’s position is with the Police Department. The Board of Estimates also recently approved a slate of new communications and marketing positions in City Hall, as Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has spoken often of changing the city’s “narrative.”