BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Catherine Pugh is showing her pick for Baltimore City Police Commissioner that she is serious about hiring him.
Baltimore City’s Spending Board approved a $275,000 per-year contract for Michael Harrison, who previously ran the police force in New Orleans.READ MORE: Virginia County Plans To Rename Lee Highway For Abolitionist
“We can’t do enough,” Pugh said. “I can’t wait for a new police chief to come on board. I can’t wait for the continued focus on reducing violence in the city.”
But Baltimore City Council has the final say on the matter, and if they don’t confirm Harrison, he will still get an entire year’s salary anyway.
“When you approve a contract before a person is confirmed by the council and say in the contract that they are going to get one year salary regardless of if they are approved or not, that eats at the public’s trust and it eats away at the integrity of the council’s process,” Brandon Scott, Baltimore City Councilman, said.
In the proposed deal, Harrison would also receive $3,000 a month in housing allowance for a year until he sells his New Orleans home, a three-percent raise each year and other incentives if he drives down crime.
But Harrison would be working with a short staff. The police department is currently short about 500 sworn officers.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: 5 Deaths Reported Saturday As Hospitalizations Drop Below 200
Wednesday, Baltimore City Police met with frustrated members of city council.
“So 5.8 percent is an unacceptable result from the police department,” Eric Costello, Baltimore City Councilman, said. “What is the police department doing when we are getting 4,000 applications to get more than 5.8 percent of those individuals hired and in uniforms and out patrolling our streets.”
But Baltimore City Police said they are currently working on getting additional staffing.
The department said it started accepting applications online for the first time last year. They said they’ve seen a significant amount applicants.
“Now we have to get those applications turned into officers on the street,” Matt Jablow, Media Relations Chief at Baltimore City Police Department, said. “We think that will happen in large measure this year.”
Harrison will begin as commissioner on an acting basis next Monday while he awaits confirmation on his contract.MORE NEWS: ‘It’s Just All Political Agenda’ Some Business Owners Criticize Mayor, City Response In Fells Point; Street Closures In Effect