Mayor, City Solicitor to Testify in Support of Local Control of BPD

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425


Sydney Burns
(443) 610-5862

[email protected]


BALTIMORE, MD (Thursday, February 11, 2021) — Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and City Solicitor Jim Shea will testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of legislation that would restore local control of the Baltimore Police Department, currently a state agency. The Mayor has been among the advocates and community leaders who have lobbied for this change for nearly a decade in Annapolis. 

SB0786/HB1027, sponsored by Senator Cory McCray (D45-Baltimore City) and Delegate Melissa Wells (D40-Baltimore City) at the request of the Mayor, would establish BPD as an agency and instrumentality of the City of Baltimore, instead of the State. The legislation would also establish a community-driven advisory board, which would guide the transition from state to local control. Once passed, the measure will appear on the ballot as a Charter Amendment for final approval by the voters.

“Baltimore City is the only jurisdiction in Maryland that does not directly oversee its police department,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “The ability to set policies and provide oversight locally will enable us to truly transform the BPD and fulfill consent decree requirements. With increasing calls for police accountability, now more than ever, Baltimore City must regain the authority to oversee its police department.”

“We are encouraged by the Mayor’s commitment to bringing this question of local control to the ballot in 2022 and ensuring more community participation in the Advisory Board. Local control of BPD is about racial justice, police accountability, representative democracy and self-determination for the people of Baltimore. Implementing local control and ensuring robust community participation is essential for building bridges of trust between this administration, Baltimore’s Black communities and Baltimore City residents as a whole,” said Rob Ferrell of Organizing Black and member of the Campaign for Justice, Safety and Jobs coalition.

State control dates back over one hundred years to 1860, when the Maryland State Legislature declared the Baltimore Police Department a state agency. Transferring control of the BPD to Baltimore City would enable City residents and local elected officials to set policies and provide oversight, rather than having to advocate for reform through state representatives. This change would align Baltimore City with comparable jurisdictions in the state.

“I thank the sponsors for their support and look forward to working closely with the coalition of advocates to improve the bill with amendments that reflect a shorter implementation timeline and increased community collaboration,” continued Mayor Scott. 

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will convene at 11:00AM. Members of the press and public can tune virtually on the Maryland General Assembly’s website or on YouTube.

Read and follow Senate Bill 0786 and House Bill 1027.

Related Stories

Mayor Scott Assembles Multi-Agency Task Force to Address Baltimore’s Lack of Past ADA Noncompliance

Mayor Brandon M. Scott is responding to a new class action lawsuit filed in United States District Court for the District of Maryland on Thursday regarding Baltimore’s past noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 


Mayor Scott Announces Expanded Eviction Prevention Program for Tenants, Including Dedicated Fund for Security Deposit Assistance

Mayor Brandon M. Scott is announcing an expansion of Baltimore City’s Eviction Prevention Program, as part of a continuing effort to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic through a lens of equity while investing in needed support for the city’s most vulnerable residents. 


Mayor Scott's Statement on Passage of FY 2022 Budget

After the City Council Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed the Mayor’s Fiscal 2022 budget on Monday 06/07/21, the Baltimore City Council unanimously voted to adopt the budget. Mayor Brandon M. Scott released a statement.