Announcement near on fate of Baltimore housing police

September 18, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City will announce next week the future of its 70-member police force.

"We have a plan, and right now we're deciding the best time and best place and best forum to announce it," said housing authority spokesman David Tillman.

A month ago, housing officials said they would develop a plan in 30 days that would include a strategy for protecting public housing residents, with or without an independent police force.

Tillman said the agency has met that self-imposed deadline.

Several dozen officers, anticipating that the force will be disbanded, have applied for jobs with the Baltimore Police Department, city police said.

The 1,300-employee housing authority recently laid off 75 employees and eliminated 84 vacant positions in an effort to plug an $11 million budget gap that Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said was caused by a cut in federal funding. He has said more cuts are coming.

The housing authority oversees - and its officers patrol - about 13,000 public housing units.

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