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At Budget Hearing, Council President Scott Emphasizes “Call to Action” Regarding Baltimore Police Department Budget

At Budget Hearing, Council President Scott Emphasizes “Call to Action” Regarding Baltimore Police Department Budget 

Council President reiterates need for responsible cuts now, while committing to multi-year process for systemic budget shifts

BALTIMORE, MD (June 12, 2020) -- Baltimore City Council President Brandon M. Scott stressed the need for responsible reductions to the Baltimore Police Department budget this year, while also starting a multi-year process of realigning the budget with Baltimore’s priorities at this evening’s Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearing. 

Following the death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, cities across the nation are being challenged to redirect funds from their police departments to historically underfunded communities, schools, and critical city services.

In his remarks before the Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing Friday evening, Council President Brandon Scott stressed that the time has come to systematically reassess the way the city invests its public dollars.

“While Baltimore is still fighting through the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing gun violence epidemic, we are also amid the largest civil rights call to action in generations,” said Council President Scott. “Following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota by police officers, our city along with cities across the world have mobilized to demand reforms of our justice system and radical changes to our police departments.”

“Baltimore cannot move forward spending a disproportionate amount on policing. In fact, if per-capita police spending was the sure way to make our city safer, then Baltimore should be one of the safest cities in America,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Council President proposed a task force that would be made up of community stakeholders to analyze how Baltimore can responsibly redirect funds from BPD to other agencies. The Council President committed to playing an active role in the transition to the next term, working with local officials and state partners.

The Council President also spoke about the need to continue advocacy in Annapolis to regain local control of the Baltimore Police Department, which is a state agency, and make changes to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. 

Additionally, the Council President said a pending audit of BPD by the State’s Office of Legislative Audits, the result of legislation passed by State Senator Cory McCray (District 45), may reveal additional opportunities to reallocate funds and reduce waste in the Department’s budget. 

The City Council only has the authority to cut items from the administration’s proposed budget, not reallocate funds.

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