Mayor Brandon Scott described an hourlong meeting Thursday on violent crime in Baltimore with Gov. Larry Hogan as “very productive” and said “the governor has an understanding that we’re focused on this and we have a deep, thoughtful plan” to address public safety.
The Democratic mayor and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison met with Hogan after the Republican governor repeatedly lobbed criticism toward Scott and other Baltimore leaders over the handling of crime in the city. The jabs prompted retorts last week from Scott in a tense exchange on social media.
Outside the State House in Annapolis after the meeting, Scott said he asked Hogan for better coordination with state agencies, particularly the Maryland State Police and the Division of Probation and Parole, on combating crime and tamping down violence.
Scott emphasized that he wanted “to be very clear” that neither he nor the police commissioner went into the meeting “asking for money” from Hogan.
“This is about coordination,” said Scott. “We want Baltimore to be safer, and now we have a better understanding of how we coordinate.”
A spokesman for Scott said in a statement that the mayor “presented several immediate steps Governor Hogan could take to reduce violence that target violent repeat offenders, strengthen collaboration across law enforcement agencies and lessen unessential burdens on Baltimore Police officers to permit more time to fight crime.”
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Scott said the governor and he agreed not to publicly discuss specific initiatives until details could be hammered out — but indicated incorporating state probation officers into existing Baltimore crime intelligence units could be one effective step.
“The governor was able to hear from me, the mayor of Baltimore, about how seriously I take this, how personal this is for me — but also how deeply I think about this,” Scott said.
Hogan did not join Scott and Harrison for their brief news conference after the closed-door meeting, instead zipping to the Washington Football Team’s stadium in Prince George’s County for a visit to a state-run COVID-19 vaccination site.
“I would agree it was a very productive meeting,” Hogan told reporters at FedEx Field. “We spent quite a bit of time. I thought the mayor, you know, had some very good ideas and we’re looking forward to following up and assisting them in whatever way we can.”
“I’ll let the mayor speak to his plan, but I’ll say this: I’ve been the governor for six years and this is my fourth mayor to come into my office and talk about a crime plan,” Hogan added. “I would say that I was very impressed that the mayor had actually put in a lot of effort and thought into it. We want him to be successful.”
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Woodrow W. “Jerry” Jones and Walter F. “Pete” Landon, the director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, joined Hogan in the meeting. So, too, did Keiffer Mitchell Jr., the governor’s top lobbyist and a liaison to the city, and Amelia Alcivar, Hogan’s chief of staff.
The confab Thursday morning was just the second formal sit-down between Hogan and Scott since the mayor took office in December. The pair discussed the coronavirus pandemic at their previous meeting, according to the mayor.
Scott also met Thursday with Maryland’s acting U.S. attorney, Jonathan Lenzner, to discuss how federal law enforcement could aid city police. Lenzner, a career prosecutor and former top deputy in the office, took over its leadership in February after Robert K. Hur, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, stepped down.
Lenzner told The Sun on Thursday that officials have been discussing for some time the idea of a “holistic” approach to healing communities after big federal takedown cases and that officials are now strategizing how to implement that approach.
“Our goal is to bring impactful cases on the enforcement side, and then to supplement those enforcement actions with targeted outreach and service to communities that need it,” he said.