Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today pushed back against recent criticism from Gov. Larry Hogan over violent crime, saying the city is still waiting for state resources the governor promised to help police.
“We’re still waiting on some of the resources that the governor promised us to help us fight crime,” Young said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Instead of the governor talking about the crime, give us the resources we asked for.”
The mayor pointed to correctional facilities, which are run by the state, as another way leadership in Annapolis can help the city’s violent crime issues. He advocated for apprenticeships and other programs to better prepare people to re-enter society as productive citizens after they are released, rather than returning to crime.
“We appreciate any help that the governor wants to give us,” he said. “Division of Corrections, their job is to correct criminal behavior and they have failed because they’re turning people back onto the streets of Baltimore with no skills, no training, and they should provide that.”
Asked whether the city should be communicating more with state delegates instead of calling on the governor for assistance, Young simply stated “the governor controls state agencies” before promptly moving on to the Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison’s public safety update.
Young was responding to comments Hogan made on WBAL 1090’s “The C4 Show” Tuesday. During his interview, the governor expressed frustration about the state legislature primarily focusing their attention on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education funding proposal, often referred to as Kirwan funding, rather than considering Hogan’s legislation to fight violent crime in Baltimore.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation is based on recommendations from the Kirwan Commission, a group of state representatives, school leaders and community members, chaired by former University System of Maryland Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan.
The commission convened for two years before making recommendations regarding funding, policies, and resources that they say would help improve various facets of the state’s schools, including expanding access to pre-kindergarten, raising teachers’ salaries and creating an accountability system to ensure funding is used for what it is intended.
In his interview with C4 host Clarence M. Mitchell IV, Hogan said “we obviously all want to see improvements in our schools.” But he also criticized Young for calling Kirwan funding “a matter of life and death” in his testimony in support of the proposal as the state legislature began its formal review of the education plan Monday.
“If you want to talk about a ‘life and death matter,’ it’s doing something about the people that are actually getting shot and killed on the streets of Baltimore,” Hogan told C4.
The governor added: “We have no support from city leaders.”
Hogan went on to say that he has not been receiving the support he needs to make changes to fight violent crime in Baltimore.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to let up. People are like, ‘Well, why don’t you do something?’ I’m as frustrated as anyone else because I’ve been trying to do something for 5 years, but I’m not getting a whole lot of support and I’m not getting a lot of folks that are actually focused on the real problem,” he said.
Last September, Hogan pledged $21 million in state support to help combat crime in Baltimore.
That money would fund various policies, such as updating the Baltimore Police Department’s records lab, buying license plate readers for the department, securing grants for community policing and investing money in a new police academy.
But Young and Harrison said the city has not yet seen money for the technology, capital and human resources they need for crime-fighting efforts.
In December, Hogan announced a package of budget and policy proposals aimed at reducing crime.
The Judicial Transparency Act (HB 355/SB 272) would require the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy to provide additional information about crimes of violence, including the judge who oversaw the case.
The Violent Firearm Offenders Act (HB 356/SB 273) strengthen penalties for firearms-related offenses.
The Witness Intimidation Prevention Act (HB 357/SB 271) would expand penalties for victim, witness or related intimidation.
The Victims’ Right to Restitution Act (HB 358/SB 268) would require a court to order restitution for a victim of a crime and change requirements and procedures related to restitution.
Since the Maryland General Assembly opened its 2020 session on Jan. 6, the bills have been introduced and have been referred to committees but no progress has been made beyond that point.
During that 44-day period, there have been at least 40 reported homicides in Baltimore, per the Baltimore Sun‘s homicide database.
Hogan has proposed other crime plans in the past, some of which included parts of the proposals he introduced for this session. In January 2019, he announced a package that sought to coordinate local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, increase the number of federal cases for gun charges and release sentencing data.
In 2017, the governor sought to demolish vacant properties in high-crime areas and use U.S. Marshals, state troopers and probation and parole officers to assist city law enforcement.