BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Less than three months into the job, the pressure is mounting on Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to come up with a comprehensive crime plan.
A letter came across his desk Monday from Baltimore City councilmembers, who called the need for a crime plan critically urgent and gave the commissioner five days to meet the deadline.
The commissioner came into the gig operating under a consent decree and desperate calls for leadership.
“I’ve been working tirelessly to make the Baltimore Police Department the finest department in America,” Harrison said in March.
Now, City Council members including Council President Brandon Scott and Councilman Eric Costello are giving the commissioner until the end of the week to produce a crime plan.
“There’s no ill will intended here, this isn’t a threat,” Costello said. “This is basically us putting in writing, here are the things we’re looking for,”
The two councilmembers asked the commissioner to outline a comprehensive crime plan, a plan for civilianization of police officers and a complete 911 service call reduction plan.
All of which they say must be laid out by the Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing Friday.
“We know that he’s building his team, he’s building the agency, basically restarting the agency, and a part of that is building a crime plan. He’ll be able to come to us on Friday, tell us where they are in that process, give us the overarching themes of that, and as they round out the team, be able to present that to us,” Scott said.
The letter follows another bloody weekend in Baltimore, with an end to the climbing body count nowhere in sight.
130 people have been killed in 2019- on track to surpass 300 homicides for the fifth year in a row.
“So crime is slightly up, but statistics really don’t matter. At the end of the day, we’ve seen too much violent crime and it needs to be curbed. Period.” Costello said.
That monumental task is at the feet of the city’s top cop, as Baltimore enters the notoriously violent summer months.
“We fully have faith in this commissioner, we fully have faith in his ability to do that, but we also are a part of the city government that will hold them accountable and try to press to make sure that things are happening in the most efficient and effective way so that we can keep people safe in Baltimore,”
WJZ reached out to Commissioner Harrison’s office for a response but have not heard back.
The police budget hearing is later Friday evening at 6 p.m.