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The Dripby Ian Round4:29 pmJun 15, 20200

City Council committee proposes $22.3 million cut in police spending

Amid calls to defund police, possible cuts, representing less than 5% of the police budget, may include Baltimore police marine and equestrian units.

Above: In 2012, mounted police officers are among the many BPD units arrayed for what turned out to be a small Trayvon Martin protest. (Fern Shen)

The Baltimore Police Department’s mounted and marine units are among the possible casualties in a $22.3 million package of proposed cuts moved forward by the City Council today.

Having passed the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the full Council will vote on the budget at today’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.

Members may introduce floor amendments to the budget tonight, so that figure is not yet set in stone.

The cuts represent 4.05% of the BPD’s proposed $549 million budget – not a substantial cut, and by no means a drastic change to policing in Baltimore, but not an increase.

In addition, the Council cut $444,371 from the State’s Attorney’s office for two “community intelligence centers.”

Other Spending Could Rise

The cuts follow a wave of local and national protests calling on elected officials to defund the police and invest in housing, addiction treatment and other services.

Of the cuts, $10.7 million are categorized as “unallocated appropriations,” meaning money the city anticipates receiving but has not yet received. What the decision means is that if BPD wants CARES Act funding, it will have to jump an extra hurdle and seek approval from the Council.

The cuts don’t mean other police spending won’t rise.

The city’s proposed police budget for the 2021 fiscal year increased spending by more than $13 million, which Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said was mostly due to fixed pension obligations.

The police department’s proposed budget begins on page 255 of this document.

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