What’s happening?

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s budget proposal, announced on Monday, April 11, includes an additional $5 million for the city’s police department, Emily Opilo and Jessica Anderson report for the Baltimore Sun. The proposal also includes hiring 35 civilian investigators to fill 30 vacancies for sworn officer positions and nine other workers to staff an anti-violence initiative.   

Why does the budget allocate more money to the police? 

Health benefits, worker’s compensation, inflation and wages account for the majority of the proposed increase, including $2.2 million for a new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police to raise the annual salaries for recruits from $55,000 to $60,000. The new civilian investigators, staff members for the Group Violence Reduction Strategy, and building renovations account for about $2.8 million of the proposed budget. 

Ray C. Kelly, director of the Citizens Policing Project, an advocacy organization dedicated to civilian oversight of the police, expressed his disappointment in the administration’s decision to increase police funds again. Last year’s budget also increased the department’s allocation, adding $28 million in department spending. “We just accept their narrative that the police are the solution to all of our problems and we need to give them more,” Kelly said in an interview Monday. 

Anything else I should know? 

The budget proposal is open for discussion among Baltimore residents at the annual taxpayer’s night on April 27. The City Council will begin considering the proposal in mid-May with final approval due by June 24.

You can read more here.