Photo by Dominique Maria Bonessi.

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott signed a bill to add a charter amendment to the general election ballot which could put the city’s police department under local control for the first time in decades.

Baltimore’s mayor can hire or fire the police commissioner and compile a crime prevention plan, but the city is the only across the state where local officials can’t oversee the police department’s policies or practices.

The city’s police have been under state jurisdiction since the mid-1800s, which needs to change, Scott said.

The change is about restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, enforcing police accountability, and ensuring basic democracy, he said.

“The ability to set policies and provide oversight locally, will enable us to transform the BPD and better engage constitutional, retroactive law enforcement practices, all while fulfilling our consent decree requirements with integrity,” Scott said.

City Council President Nick Mosby said restoring local control could help reduce crime. If approved by voters, the city could take control as of Jan. 1, 2023.

Read more at WYPR.