Baltimore’s mayor and police commissioner met for more than an hour Friday with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, seeking more state support for fighting crime in the city amid a surging rate of gun violence.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young asked Hogan for more state police deployments in the city, more staff for parole and probation in Baltimore and the release of $7 million in funding for technology upgrades in the Baltimore Police Department.
Hogan, Young and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison all called the meeting at the governor’s Baltimore office “productive.”
Harrison said he was “both encouraged and hopeful” that greater collaboration between city and state officials will help drive down crime in Baltimore.
Nearly 700 people have been shot this year in Baltimore, a 27 percent increase from the same time last year. This week, Sgt. Isaac Carrington, 43 and a 22-year veteran of the city police department, was released from the hospital after he was shot multiple times earlier this month during an apparent robbery outside his home in the Frankford neighborhood.
Hogan said he believed the state would be able to fund “a lot” of Young’s requests. The Republican governor said he “gave them some input and some advice about how to improve the working relationship between the state and the city.”
“We can’t give a blank check, but we certainly have been providing a tremendous amount of assistance to the city for a long time,” the governor said.
Among Hogan’s suggestions were increased accountability measures, through data-tracking of crime and police deployment, in the commissioner’s crime-fighting plan, Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said.
Much of the closed-door meeting concerned a detailed discussion of how, operationally, city and state entities can collaborate more, Ricci added.
Specifically, Young’s office said, he asked for more “crime suppression traffic stops” by Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police; more parole and probation officers in each Baltimore police district to better monitor repeat offenders, including a unit focused on the “top 25 most violent offenders”; more state staffing of Central Booking and Juvenile Booking to free city officers for police work; state reimbursement for overtime for Baltimore officers who work stadium events, allowing city overtime spending to be used on crime fighting; release of the $7 million Hogan is withholding for Baltimore police technology amid a budget dispute with General Assembly Democrats; $2.4 million to relocate the Baltimore police academy; and $1.5 million for a new records management system, among other requests.
“It’s about upgrading the police department where we have inefficiencies,” Young, a Democrat, said. “That’s how you drive down crime: go where the crime is to reduce the crime.”
Maryland Policy & Politics
Hogan has said he would find a way to fund the $7 million in technology upgrades for Baltimore police without using money “fenced off” for that purpose by the legislature.
This month, after Carrington’s shooting, Hogan renewed his call for longer mandatory minimum sentences against gun offenders.
Posting videos on social media sites, Hogan asked the public to call on Democrats in the General Assembly to pass his legislation. It would impose stiffer penalties on a small number of offenders convicted of using a firearm during a crime of violence.
Democrats have argued that Hogan is trying to mislead the public about what actually happened in the legislature. The General Assembly already passed similar legislation in 2018, and Hogan’s version would affect only a handful of offenders, according to a state analysis.
A Department of Legislative Services analysis of the governor’s bill concluded that if the law had been in effect in 2018, it would have meant longer sentences for 13 gun offenders.
Hogan also is pursuing legislation to track and publish data about individual judges’ sentencing decisions for people convicted of violent crimes. He argues too many repeat violent offenders are not serving enough time behind bars.
In Baltimore, more than 90 percent of felony convictions are the result of plea deals.