BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Those advocating for Baltimore City Schools Police to carry weapons on campus vow to continue their fight— after Governor Larry Hogan lashed out at lawmakers who killed the measure.
“The only place in the state where we’re not allowing police officers—trained school resource officers cannot carry a weapon—it’s crazy,” Governor Hogan said Monday. “This seems to be like the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen.”
The vote among the Baltimore City House delegation was 10 to 5 against allowing officers to carry their weapons while classes are in session. It likely ends the possibility of arming officers during this legislative session.
Currently, the officers must keep their service weapons in a secured area during the school day.
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen believes the delegation made the right choice.
“For a population of children who are already overexposed to firearms, having more guns in our schools is not the right call,” Cohen said.
He was critical of Hogan’s words.
“I don’t think it’s constructive or helpful to demonize legislators who— to my mind—really went through a thoughtful process in reaching their conclusion,” Cohen said.
The debate took on greater urgency after a man opened fire inside Frederick Douglass High School last month, injuring a staff member.
The school board, which previously voted against arming officers, reversed its decision.
Among those who supported officers with weapons was the victim who was injured at Douglass High.
Sergeant Clyde Boatwright who heads the school police officers’ union said he will continue to push for armed officers.
“It is very rare that you have the police chief, the school board and the union sitting together begging the delegation to do something for the people of Baltimore. We had all three entities there in unison,” Sgt. Boatwright told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.
He noted several of the lawmakers who voted against arming his fellow officers voted in support of a new police force for Johns Hopkins.
The Baltimore City Council plans to hold a hearing on school security April 10th.