The Baltimore City Council has moved legislation modifying its police district boundaries to third reader, the final step before requiring Mayor Brandon M. Scott’s signature.
Council Bill 22-0257, entitled “Police Department of Baltimore City – Police Districts – Redistricting,” became necessary after, in 2019, the Maryland General Assembly required the Baltimore City Police Commissioner to draft a police redistricting plan within one year of a decennial census conducted by the United States Census Bureau. Under the General Assembly’s legislation, the plan must be submitted to the Mayor and City Council for their approval, and take into account the following:
- decennial census population and housing data from the Census Bureau;
- district call volume trends;
- district response times; and
- any other information deemed necessary by the Commissioner.
According to the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD), the redistricting effort is its first in over 50 years. BPD received “over 400 responses that included comments such as the Northeastern, Southeastern Districts are too large and requests for certain communities to be put together in one district to facilitate cooperation and community policing goals.” The Baltimore Sun reports that the revised boundaries produced by BPD are subject to some controversy, however, due to potentially diminished property values and the loss of “existing relationships with district police leadership.” Regardless, 22-0257 received an 11-3 favorable vote before the Council on second reader.
Natasha Mehu, Mayor Scott’s Director of Government Relations, indicated the Administration’s approval. According to Mehu, the map-making process was non-partisan and took great care to garner community input. Although community sentiment resulted in slightly altered boundaries, the maps still reflect the data collected during the most recent decennial census. More importantly, the revised maps no longer split neighborhoods between two or more police districts.
Council Bill 22-0257 will go before the Baltimore City Council for a final vote on October 3rd.