Mayor Brandon Scott announced on Thursday plans to establish a task force that would determine the most effective ways to reduce the police budget over five years, according to Fox 45 Baltimore.
“The governor has committed record funding to fighting violent crime in Baltimore City and will continue to do so despite the mayor’s reckless agenda,” Hogan spokesperson Michael Ricci told Fox News in a statement Saturday.
Mayor Brandon Scott exits his vehicle to pick up lunch on December 18 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“As my administration works tirelessly to reimagine policing in Baltimore, we must ensure that city resources are being used effectively and efficiently,” Scott said in a statement to Fox 45. “The Task Force will be charged with identifying reductions that can be made responsibly over time while creating a blueprint that diverts appropriate service requests so officers can focus efforts on reducing violent crime.”
But the governor, in a Friday interview on WBAL Radio’s “The C4 and Bryan Nehman Show,” expressed “outrage” over the mayor’s “crazy” comments regarding the plan.
“I was shocked and outraged yesterday by the mayor’s crazy comments about his desire to defund the police and to slash their budget and shrink them for the next five years,” Hogan said during the interview. “That is the worst possible thing we could do to stop the violent crime in Baltimore City.”
Hogan also noted that “the people of Baltimore are very concerned about the violent crime, as are people all around the state,” adding that “city leaders and the legislators continue to fight every effort to stop this crime.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference at the Maryland State House on Friday, April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
Scott’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Baltimore has continued to experience a high rate of killings and shootings, despite a decline in many categories of crime during the coronavirus pandemic last year. In 2020, the city eclipsed 300 homicides for the sixth year in a row, while recording more than 1,000 shootings.
Scott’s task force announcement comes as a number of large cities grapple with rising crime amid demands from residents and local and national lawmakers to “defund” police departments and allocate the money toward other community services and initiatives.
The calls to overhaul police departments followed the officer-involved deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude and others that have sparked major protests and unrest.
Cities such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, have shifted funds from police departments to social services programs. Such cuts have led some departments to lay off officers, cancel recruiting classes or retreat from hiring goals.
Fox News’ David Aaro and Stephanie Pagnones contributed to this report.