Scott highlights police improvements, community investment and economic relief in second State of the City address – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Brandon Scott on Tuesday focused on modernizing Baltimore’s police force, investing in its communities and helping residents economically during his second annual State of the City Address.

The mayor’s remarks underscored his commitment to charting a new course for the city.

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“Baltimore, let’s be honest, when I took office the city was broken and rotten to the core from years of dysfunction, turmoil and misplaced focus,” Scott said. “We had to start from scratch and build new systems from the foundation, no longer putting new windows on a roofless house.”

This new path includes investments in schools and redesigned community centers, as well as economic initiatives such as a guaranteed income program and a youth employment initiative.

Notably, Scott made a special announcement: Baltimore-based developer MCB Real Estate has reached an agreement to acquire Harborplace, a waterfront mall in Inner Harbor that has fallen into disrepair. The developer’s plans for the location are forthcoming.

Mayor Scott began his speech with a moment of silence for Baltimore first responders and public safety officers who died in the line of duty. He named deceased officer Keona Holley, three firefighters killed in a vacant house collapse and three Safe Streets workers killed in the past year.

Reinventing Policing and Public Safety

Violence remains a pervasive problem in the city, and Scott said he intends in part to steer police more toward confronting that violence and away from non-emergency calls.

“I want to commend the entire BPD for serving our residents in making Baltimore a safer place every day,” Scott said. “But if we continue with the status quo, we will continue to achieve status quo results. That is why we strive to ensure that police resources are used effectively and constitutionally.”

Scott announced in the coming weeks that he will unveil the city’s smart policing program, which he says will “free up valuable time” officers spend on non-emergency calls, on which patrol officers would spend half their time. time.

The mayor also highlighted a new BPD staffing model to maximize limited sworn resources, allowing police to “draw on qualified personnel who can move faster through the hiring process.”

Scott said he is also working with Sen. Cory McCray on “long overdue” police redistricting to reflect changing population and crime trends.

“Frankly, all of these initiatives are long overdue, and I know some of them will be controversial,” Scott said. “However, as I said during my swearing in, I am determined to do the right thing, regardless of the criticism. We must evolve to develop an ability not only to solve crimes, but also to prevent them from happening in the first place.”

Scott also pointed to violence intervention initiatives such as Safe Streets as key to disrupting violent crime, as well as the mayor’s comprehensive violence prevention plan.

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The mayor also announced investments in the Baltimore Fire Department, which include $5 million for two new EMS units and to establish nurse triage programs. The city is also rebuilding Engine 14, based in southeast Baltimore.

Community investment

Scott emphasized investing in youth and underserved communities in his speech, announcing a $65 million city investment in Baltimore City Public Schools, and highlighted his commitment to recreation and parks.

In February, he announced $120 million in recreation and parks funding for the city’s recreation centers, playgrounds, pools, trails and playgrounds. Today, he announces a partnership with KABOOM! to end the inequality of play spaces in the city with a $250 million plan to bring 25 parks to underserved communities within five years.

Scott said these types of investments are what can keep a city safe.

“We put our money where our mouth provides safe minor spaces for them to exercise and spend their time productively,” Scott said. “And of course for me, fostering excellence through healthy competition. We will put more effort in their promise than in their struggles, more in their support than in their hindrances, and more in their dreams than in their downfalls. That’s how we’re going to really strengthen public safety in Baltimore.

Economic initiatives

The mayor highlighted economic initiatives such as a guaranteed income pilot program and YouthWorks Baltimore. Scott said applications for the guaranteed income program, announced a year ago, will open next month.

“Research shows guaranteed income projects have resulted in reduced poverty, increased income and increased savings,” Scott said. “Guaranteed Income has proven to be a key tool for improving economic mobility and advancing racial and gender equity. It is about an investment and the future of our city and now of young families by providing them with direct support so that they can flourish.

More details on the pilot program are forthcoming.

Two weeks ago, the city kicked off the 2022 YouthWorks season. Last year, for the first time in years, the city offered summer employment to every young person who applied, and this year it is again.

“I call on all area employers, large small nonprofits, faith-based and community organizations to plan your future today by hiring through YouthWorks for your summer laps,” Scott said. “We want to make sure that every young person who wants to work doesn’t miss an opportunity to do so.

He said there was a lot to do but the city remained “strong and vibrant”.

NO MORE NEWS: Applications for the Baltimore Guaranteed Income Pilot Program will open next month

Jill E. Washington