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Pugh and Hogan meet to strategize on de-escalating violence

Rachel Baye

Facing record levels of violence, Baltimore officials are grappling with the best way to curb the violence, Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Governor Larry Hogan Monday afternoon to strategize.

At the top of her list, Pugh said she plans to bring in a team from the U.S. Department of Justice next month to help the city strategize.

The DOJ has already worked with Los Angeles and Chicago to reduce violence there. Pugh said she wants to follow those cities’ models, but will need additional resources.

“What I said to the governor is that we really want to be prepared to implement some of the suggestions that have been made — that were made in Chicago, were made in LA,” she said. “Part of that means some advanced technology that we don’t currently have.”

That new technology includes license plate readers, computers in police cars, and expanding the city’s use of Shot Spotter to detect gunshots. The mayor said she did not yet know how much the equipment would cost.

In addition to the assistance from the DOJ, Pugh also suggested increasing collaboration across state law enforcement agencies and focusing police resources on areas with the most violence.

Shareese Churchill, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said in a written statement that Monday’s meeting was “informative, frank, and productive.”

“The administration will continue supporting and working with the Mayor, local law enforcement, and all city leadership to combat this crisis and help ensure the safety and well-being of city residents,” Churchill wrote.

Pugh said she and Hogan will likely meet again in a couple of weeks, once he has had a chance to review the proposals.

Later in the afternoon Baltimore's public safety committee met headed by Brandon Scott, district two's city councilman. Scott opened the meeting expressing his dismay for lack of leadership in the Office of Criminal Justice.

"This is the longest transition period ever for a mayor," said Scott. "One June 2nd the Mayor said she would have someone appoint to the Office of Criminal Justice within 30 days. It is now July 10th."

Scott also scolded city agencies for not having developed a concrete strategy to mitigate violence prior to the committee meeting. The meeting came to an abrupt halt when Scott placed the committee on recess till a step-by-step plan could be developed. 

Scott commented on Pugh's meeting with Hogan following the committee meeting.

"We can't wait for the team from Chicago till August," said Scott. "People in Baltimore are dying everyday. We have had 180 murders thus far this year. We can't wait."

Rachel Baye is a reporter for WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye
"If radio were a two-way visual medium," WYPR host Ashley Sterner would be able to see listeners every weekday between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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