BALTIMORE — Mayor Brandon Scott and City Solicitor Jim Shea will testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of legislation that would restore local control of the Baltimore Police Department.
Currently, BPD is a state agency. Scott has been among the advocates and community leaders who have lobbied for this change for nearly a decade in Annapolis.
SB0786/HB1027, sponsored by Senator Cory McCray (D45-Baltimore City) and Delegate Melissa Wells (D40-Baltimore City) at the request of the Mayor, would establish BPD as an agency and instrumentality of the City of Baltimore, instead of the State.
The legislation would also establish a community-driven advisory board, which would guide the transition from state to local control. Once passed, the measure will appear on the ballot as a Charter Amendment for final approval by the voters.
State control dates back over 100 years to 1860, when the Maryland State Legislature declared the Baltimore Police Department a state agency. Transferring control of the BPD to Baltimore City would enable City residents and local elected officials to set policies and provide oversight, rather than having to advocate for reform through state representatives.
This change would align Baltimore City with comparable jurisdictions in the state.