Pugh’s chief of criminal justice, Drew Vetter, leaving for job with Johnny O’s administration

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Drew Vetter. Photo via mayor’s office.

The current director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is headed up to Towson to take on a senior role with Baltimore County Executive-elect John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr.’s incoming administration.

Johnny O’s campaign announced Drew Vetter’s appointment today as deputy administrative officer for the Baltimore County executive’s office. His and others’ appointments take effect on Dec. 3, after Olszewski takes his oath of office.

Pugh appointed Vetter as her chief of criminal justice in August 2017. He previously served as chief of staff for former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and before that worked for the O’Malley gubernatorial administration and with the CitiStat team in the Baltimore Police Department back when O’Malley was mayor.

Vetter announced his departure in a tweeted statement today.

He was tasked with clarifying the mission of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and Pugh announced his arrival as part of a response to a swell in violence in the city in summer 2017.

During his time there, the city implemented an ongoing trial of the ShotSpotter gunshot-detection system, expanded its closed-circuit TV network with money from Bloomberg Philanthropies, helped launch Pugh’s multi-agency Violence Reduction Initiative and, per his statement, secured millions in grants for public safety programs.

Under his leadership, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice also took over the city’s lauded Safe Streets violence-prevention program, formerly housed within the Baltimore City Health Department, a move some criticized as making it more police- than public health-oriented.

In a statement given to Baltimore Fishbowl Wednesday, Pugh said she wishes Vetter well, and is “grateful for his contributions to our work in creating a safer City over the past year.”

“We have assembled a strong team, established greater coordination among criminal justice system partners, expanded crime prevention programs and initiatives, while also securing additional funding from government and philanthropic partners for public safety priorities,” she said. “I have full confidence that MOCJ is well-positioned to continue progress towards improving public safety in Baltimore.”

This story has been updated.

Ethan McLeod
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