Wider city role being weighed for state police BALTIMORE CITY

June 24, 1993|By Sandy Banisky | Sandy Banisky,Staff Writer

With crime unrelenting and budgets tight, Baltimore's mayor and the governor are discussing a plan that would broaden the state police presence in the city by bringing troopers in for special assignments.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday that Gov. William Donald Schaefer proposed the idea earlier this month, when the two met to discuss the city's education problems.

"He wanted to know whether I was willing to explore the use of the state police and also using inmates from boot camps for cleanup projects," the mayor said.

"He's concerned about the crime issue. He wants the state police to provide as much assistance to the city as they possibly can. We're exploring ways in which they can do that," Mr. Schmoke added. "The details haven't been worked out."

A state police spokesman, 1st Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, said he expects troopers could be at work in the city, and other jurisdictions, "sometime this summer" -- though details of how the troopers may be used have not been settled. "We hope implementation would be very quick."

By state law, troopers are not allowed to use their authority within the city unless invited in by the mayor or ordered in by the governor.

State troopers sometimes cooperate with city police on drug investigations. The plans under discussion could lead to more frequent cooperation between the city and state police, or state and county police departments, sources said.

The deployment of troopers in the city, however, would not increase the regular police presence on Baltimore's streets, the sources said. Troopers would not be added permanently to regular city patrols.

The talks are going on as Mayor Schmoke is struggling to pass a budget that would include money for more city officers.

An aide to Governor Schaefer declined to comment on the discussions. And state and Baltimore police spokesmen confirmed that the two departments are talking but would offer no details.

"There is an effort to pursue these plans," Sergeant Shipley said. "They are not complete yet. They have not been presented to the governor yet, but they are under way."

We don't know officially yet what form this may take," he said, "but we do intend to provide some type of assistance that will help jurisdictions around the state."

The idea, he said, came from the crime summit that Governor Schaefer convened in May to discuss new approaches to fighting crime. During his State of the State address in January, the governor also mentioned his desire for more state police involvement with local departments.

Sam Ringgold, Baltimore police spokesman, said Commissioner Edward V. Woods is involved in the talks with state Police Superintendent Larry W. Tolliver. "It's unclear how it will work," Mr. Ringgold said. "But I do know that it will expand the current system," in which troopers work on city drug investigations.

Mayor Schmoke's endorsement of the plan appears to be a turnaround from his position last spring, when he lobbied against City Council members' efforts to give troopers police powers in the city.

In April, he said he opposed the measure because council members took it straight to the legislature, instead of working through Mr. Schmoke's legislative office. He called it "a matter of principle."

City Councilman Timothy D. Murphy of the 6th District, who drafted the resolution to give troopers authority in the city, said the mayor's opposition then was "vehement."

Councilman Lawrence A. Bell of the 4th District, who has called for changes in police enforcement, said he was "very glad the mayor's had a change of heart."

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