By Phylicia Porter
Candidate for Baltimore’s City Council in the 10th District
Public safety comes first, especially for our children and seniors. But beyond stopping the violence, reducing harm to victims, and ending cycles of criminalization, safer neighborhoods require us to think holistically about factors outside of the traditional public safety sphere. These include factors related to people, like education or economic opportunity, but also environmental factors as well, like lead paint exposure. Phylicia Porter is building healthy communities by applying her public health lens to create safe neighborhoods for every Baltimorean.
- Rebuilding trust in policing and increasing the effectiveness of the Baltimore Police Department
- Increasing the number of patrol officers walking the neighborhood and engaging the community. Phylicia will advocate for the Baltimore Police Department to meet local hiring targets and reform operations so that officers spend a greater percentage of their time on proactive policing (i.e., being present in neighborhoods and engaging the community, as opposed to simply responding to calls and reacting to things that have already happened.)
- Monthly COP walks. Phylicia Porter knows that true public safety comes from community partnerships. She is committed to holding monthly community-on-patrol (COP) walks to highlight key hot spots for neighborhood-assigned police officers to patrol.
- Supporting Baltimore Police Department’s full compliance with the Department of Justice Consent Decree. Phylicia Porter will work with BPD, the Consent Decree Monitor, and communities in the 10th District, to ensure that the Consent Decree is implemented on schedule and in an effective manner. This includes ensuring appropriate enforcement action is taken when officers break the law.
- End the use of gag orders.
- Funding and implementing programs that reduce violence and increase harm reduction an
- Funding violence prevention programs like Safe Streets and Roca. Phylicia Porter will advocate for increased funding to expand programs like Safe Streets and Roca that address violence by intervening before it starts. Phylicia will foster community partnerships to ensure these programs are working as effectively as possible.
- Expanding the response to the opioid crisis and trying new strategies like safe injection sites. Many years into the onset of the opioid crisis, communities in the 10th District like Morrell Park, Brooklyn, and Curtis Bay, are still waiting for a proportionate response to this public health crisis. Baltimore City now has the highest opioid fatality rate of any City in the U.S. Phylicia Porter will work with Maryland’s Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council, the Maryland General Assembly, the Baltimore City Health Department, and community based organizations to expand funding and develop new, innovative approaches like safe injection sites, which have been proven to improve treatment utilization and reduce overdoses and deaths.
- Addressing environmental factors and other public health issues that directly relate to public safety.
- Addressing Baltimore’s lead paint crisis by identifying, documenting, and remediating problem properties. Lead paint remediation remains a huge challenge in Baltimore. Currently neither the City or the State perform adequate oversight of landlords owning lead paint properties. A 2015 audit confirmed that the state agency responsible for Maryland’s lead program is rarely checking properties, and if a property is checked, it is usually done after a child is found to be poisoned by lead. Phylicia Porter will work with the Maryland Department of Environment, Baltimore Housing, community partners and activists to ensure that homes are being registered, checked, and remediated.
- Reducing vacant housing, blight, and remediating substandard housing. Public health issues related to housing don’t stop with lead. Poor housing conditions throughout our communities affect our health and public safety. Vacant and blighted housing is an issue in communities across the 10th District. In places like Cherry Hill, public housing units need investment to fix poor conditions including indoor air quality issues that cause asthma. Phylicia Porter will work with the state partners, Baltimore Housing, and community leaders to remediate vacant and blighted housing and ensure that we invest in public housing units and do not displace or reduce our public housing stock.
- Providing safe routes to school for our children. When our communities are hurting, our children unfortunately hurt the most. The walk or public transit ride to school exposes too many children to violence. Research shows that this affects absenteeism and school performance. Additionally, if care isn’t taken to calm traffic on children’s routes to school, they are at risk for injury or even death from traffic crashes. Phylicia Porter will work with city and state agencies, non-profits, and the community, to ensure that children are able to get to and from school safely.
- Ensuring we have clean air and lower asthma rates. In addition to indoor air quality issues, we need to ensure that we address the sources of pollution that contribute to Baltimore City’s high rates of childhood and adult asthma.