Rawlings-Blake asks state to help pay for Baltimore Police reforms

Posted at 4:22 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 19:01:57-04

The Department of Justice will have a plan to fix the Baltimore Police Department, but the impending consent decree does not come with a blank check from the feds.

Using other DOJ cities as a guide, Baltimore is figuring to spend anywhere from $5 to $10 million a year on reforms. It's a projected cost that remains fluid until Nov. 1, when the deal is finally struck.

"Until we have an agreement, until we have a road map forward, we don't know exactly how much it costs, but we do our best to give an estimate based on consent decrees around the country," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

But the city has some idea.

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In her annual fiscal and capital budget request to Gov. Larry Hogan, the mayor detailed what the needs of the city will be in the upcoming legislative session.

Chief among them is the soon-to-be court-ordered spending on the police department.

In her letter, Rawlings-Blake asked for more than $20 million in fiscal year 2018 for a crisis intervention team to train police how to deal with the mentally ill, and money for an early warning system to identify problem cops. 

She also asked for money to pay for renovation of outdated police stations and for training officers in appropriate sexual assault investigation techniques. Another $13 million is requested for following years to complete some of the foreseen reforms.

All of the issues were laid bare in the DOJ's blistering report and the expensive remedies that will soon be court ordered.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake is asking for an assist from the governor to help shoulder the burden of the state's largest police department.

"My view of that is that Baltimore City is a part of the state of Maryland. It is the economic engine in the state of Maryland. So, just as our infrastructure is important to the well-being of the state of is public safety in our city," she said. 

The governor's office seems to agree, releasing a statement Wednesday in response to receiving the letter from Baltimore:

The governor’s office has just received this letter and will review it, as all budget requests are reviewed during the budget process that is just beginning. The governor and the administration will continue to work closely with city leadership, including the incoming administration, to advance our many shared goals and priorities. As the governor has repeatedly made clear, he has great confidence in Commissioner Davis, and is confident that his leadership has already begun to make a difference in Baltimore City. Ultimately, addressing the many issues raised by the DOJ report is a long process that the city is just beginning to undertake, which includes making the requests detailed in the Mayor’s letter. Going forward, our administration looks forward to working with local city leadership and law enforcement on the possible ways the state can continue to support their efforts.

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