Baltimore moves closer to local BPD control

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, (www.baltimorecity.gov)

By AFRO Staff

Baltimore’s Local Control Advisory Board had its first meeting Oct. 27.

“After a decade of advocacy in Annapolis, Baltimore City is one step closer to having local control of its police department for the very first time,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in an Oct. 8 press release. ”I look forward to working closely with the members of the Local Control Advisory Board to prioritize implementing local control in an effective and transparent manner, as soon as humanly possible. The ability to set policies and provide oversight locally will enable us to transform the Baltimore Police Department, while also fulfilling our consent decree requirements with integrity.”

Mayor Scott swore in community appointees to the board in August.

Members include the mayor, State Senator Cory McCray, State Delegate Stephanie Smith and City Council President Nick Mosby.

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Police representation on the board include Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and Robert Cherry of the Fraternal Order of Police. Vanguard Justice Society, a non-profit organization representative of the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) Black officers, has a seat reserved on the board, but no named representative at the time of this writing.

Baltimore City remains Maryland’s only police jurisdiction that is not directly overseen by local governance.

The 2021 Maryland Legislative session passed bills SB0786 and HB1027 establishing BPD as a city agency. Board Member Sen. McCray sponsored the senate bill.

The board is tasked with providing the city with an interim report on how to transition Dec. 1.. A final report is slated for December 22, 2022.

The Mayor’s Office said the goal is to make local control of BPD a ballot issue for city residents by 2022.

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