Baltimore Councilman Eric Costello defends pressing then-police commissioner over future at budget hearing

Jul 14, 2023

BALTIMORE – In early June, Baltimore Council committee chair Eric Costello repeatedly asked during the police department’s annual budget hearing if then-Commissioner Michael Harrison was on his way out.

Harrison told WJZ News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that it wasn’t an appropriate time to discuss his departure.

Even though he spoke with Mayor Brandon Scott weeks earlier about his resignation, and gave an appropriate 90 days notice, Harrison said he was still focused on leading the department in the right direction.

“That hearing was neither the place nor the time to announce my departure,” Harrison said. “I answered it in the most delicate and diplomatic way possible. It would have created uncertainty about the department not knowing its future, and it would have made it inappropriate for me to preside over decisions, purchases, all of the day-to-day deployment situations.

“We had a plan, but that council meeting really turned things.”

Harrison had been linked to a job opening in Washington D.C.

“I am not going to Washington, DC,” Harrison said at the budget hearing.

Costello said that each time he asked about the former commissioner’s status, he “received an ambiguous response each time, at best.”

The Chair of the Ways & Means Committee said it was his job to ask about the future of the police department.

“While the former Police Commissioner was busy looking for another job or seeking an exit strategy, I was busy doing the job I was elected to do,” Costello said.

Costello continued to say the City Council is entitled to transparency from the mayor when it comes to public safety.

“Despite the ongoing rumors never being honestly addressed, the Council and the public had every right to know he had submitted his resignation, Costello said.

You could read more of this CBS News article here.