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Baltimore Council members debrief police department budget hearing amid surging violence

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:11:26-04

BALTIMORE — As murders and gun violence continue to plague Baltimore, Council members made their discontent with the state of public safety clear in Tuesday night’s heated budget hearing.

Council members said they will pause passing the city’s budget without more action from Baltimore’s top cop.

Police commissioner and Baltimore Police command staff face crucial questions from council members overseeing the city’s proposed $3.2B operating budget.

"We need more detectives. We need more cameras. We need more vehicles. We need more training," Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said.

RELATED: 'It’s totally unacceptable': City council grills Baltimore police leadership over violent crime during annual budget hearing

City council grills Baltimore police leadership over violent crime during annual budget hearing

Meanwhile, council members said they need more results in the city’s ongoing crime fight.

"For 40 years, people been shot and killed, and we keep saying ‘Oh we got a pilot program in west Baltimore when you going to come over here?" questioned Councilman Robert Stokes who echoed that concern Wednesday afternoon.

Council members just feel like Eastern District, particularly, are not getting all of the resources that they should be getting because they’re the second highest of violence in all nine police districts.

Concerns from elected officials emerged regarding the perception of BPD officers’ laid-back approach to patrol instead of engaging the community to deter crime.

Officials also addressed the public frustration with open-air drug markets.

"What’s the plan for open air drug markets? I hear it all the time. People on the news talking about it. We have to get a hold of that," Stokes asked Harrison.

"It’s not a plan that says here’s what we do about open-air drug markets it’s about here’s what we do about drug dealing when we see it. That’s a crime we take the appropriate action," Harrison responded when questioned.

"He didn’t have a plan. And that’s what the community is talking about. They gotta see that out their window they have to see that all day. That’s where all of your violence starts at those particular corners no did not get answer and was not satisfied with the answer," Stokes said.

Councilman Eric Costello demanded Commissioner Harrison document his request for assistance from law enforcement agencies at the federal and state level addressing BPD's struggle with contain violent independently.

"I have made the ask and I meet with our partners the heads of each of the agencies every single month," Harrison said.

"I will not move this budget for the entire city of Baltimore until I have that in writing I want to make that explicitly clear to everyone," Costello announced during the Tuesday's budget hearing.

But expressed Wednesday that he doesn't worry it will stall the council's approval of the city's budget

"I have every confidence that the request will be completed based on that conversation with the police commissioner last evening," Costello said.