Public Safety Committee

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Co-Chairs: Kurt Schmoke, President, University of Baltimore, and Willy Moore, President, Southway Builders

Staff: Brian Levine, 410-727-2820

Description: The Public Safety Committee seeks to identify and examine emerging public safety issues, the impact on employers/employees and customers/clients, and works with appropriate stakeholders to affect positive change in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties. The committee also examines best practices from other cities in order to better inform public safety policy.


Activities:

2019 Public Safety Committee news:

The Greater Baltimore Committee Public Safety Committee met on October 30, 2019. The featured guest was Ganesha Martin, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Martin provided a presentation on her office’s priorities to reduce violent crime and her vision to improve public safety in Baltimore City. The role of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is to advise the Mayor on all crime reduction and criminal justice strategies. Martin, who in March returned to public service after previously serving in public safety roles in Baltimore City, said she is primarily focused on five general concepts — prevention, intervention, enforcement, rehabilitation and reentry. She said Baltimore City will seek to emulate effective and successful crime reduction strategies that Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison implemented in New Orleans during his tenure there as police chief.

The GBC Public Safety Committee held a meeting on September 18, 2019, to discuss various public safety issues that have emerged in 2019. GBC staff provided an update on several recent items relevant to crime reduction and public safety in Baltimore City. These included a presentation and discussion regarding Baltimore Policy Department Commissioner Michael Harrison’s strategic plan for crime reduction and his departmental transformation plan. The Public Safety Committee also discussed Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott’s public safety proposals and Governor Larry Hogan’s recent letter to Baltimore Mayor Jack Young regarding efforts to increase public safety in Baltimore.

On July 30, 2019, the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Public Safety Committee held a meeting featuring a presentation by ShotSpotter. ShotSpotter is a company that employs detection technology used by police departments to locate gunshots. The technology is presently used in West Baltimore and East Baltimore through a one-year grant from the Bloomberg Foundation. With ShotSpotter, police can quickly ascertain how many rounds were fired, the location of the gunfire, whether there are single or multiple shooters and the sequence of shots fired.  In Baltimore City, ShotSpotter detected 5,000 rounds fired and 1,438 incidents in the first six months of operation. The Baltimore Police Department is considering whether to expand the use of ShotSpotter into other areas of Baltimore City.

The Greater Baltimore Committee’s Public Safety Committee met April 24, 2019 with Dan Hymowitz, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Innovation. As a result of a grant from the Bloomberg Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Innovation has been researching the important issue of police recruitment and retention in the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

Hymowitz was joined by Eric Melancon, the new Chief of Staff to BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison. Hymowitz and Melancon discussed with the Public Safety Committee best practices for increasing the quality and quantity of recruits to serve as officers in the BPD. Through evidence-based efforts, partnerships and innovative methods, the BPD is implementing new recruiting and retention tools in an effort to bolster public safety.

The GBC Public Safety Committee learned about public safety-related legislation pending in the Maryland General Assembly from GBC’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Brian Levine at its March 21, 2019 meeting. Levine discussed the fate of approximately 30 pieces of legislation that are pending on subject matters including gun crimes, judicial transparency, the Baltimore Police Department, Johns Hopkins police force, juvenile justice reform, witness intimidation and returning citizens. The Public Safety Committee also engaged in a discussion on project planning and potential legislative proposals for the 2020 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby met with the GBC’s Public Safety Committee at its February 19, 2019 meeting. Mosby said that attorneys from her office have prosecuted more than 150,000 cases during her first year in office; nearly 49,000 cases in 2018. Mosby said that her administration has prioritized victims and witness intimidation efforts, which includes federal funding and grants. The office has also increased efforts to make victims of trauma and crime feel more comfortable.

Mosby’s office is also focused on investing in youth, particularly as juvenile crime has trended upwards over the past several years. The number of juveniles who have been charged as adults has also increased. She also explained that her office has created a policy and legislative affairs division and successes include the 2018 Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act.