Baltimore police still struggle to hire more officers even as applications soar

The Baltimore Police Department’s new online job application is helping the agency blow past its monthly recruitment goals, but the number of new hires continues to lag official targets and last year’s performance, a recent report shows. From January through May, 526 people submitted applications to the police department, an average of 105 per month. That was below the goal of 250 a month, according to a report from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainable Solutions. But from June through August — the first three months after instituting a new online application — the monthly average soared beyond the goal to 421 as 1,263 applied. The surge in applications, however, has not yet resulted in more hires. (Balt. Sun)

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Crashes continue to get worse in Baltimore, even as traffic cameras expand

The number of serious automobile crashes continues to rise in Baltimore, even as the city is rapidly expanding its speed camera system. The city experienced 214 crashes that resulted in serious injury or death in fiscal year 2014, when speed cameras were deactivated in Baltimore. But in fiscal year 2017, after Mayor Catherine Pugh resurrected the camera program and quickly expanded it, the number of serious crashes rose to 574, according to the latest report from the city’s Department of Transportation. (Balt. Sun)

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Trump administration approves seismic surveys for Atlantic drilling, including off Maryland coast

The Trump administration on Friday authorized use of seismic air guns to find oil and gas formations deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, reversing Obama administration policies and drawing outrage from critics who say the practice can disturb or injure whales, sea turtles and other marine life. The National Marine Fisheries Service said it has authorized permits for five companies to conduct surveys from Delaware to central Florida. The surveys are part of President Donald Trump's bid to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic, a plan that has drawn opposition from East Coast lawmakers and governors, including in Maryland, for possible harms to commercial fishing and tourism. (AP/Balt. Sun)

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MTA declines to say whether disciplinary action taken as result of audit

 

The Maryland Transit Administration will not say whether anyone was disciplined as a result of the problems at the agency in an audit that found issues with procurement, enforcement of contracts, and protecting computers from malicious software. The audit, released Thursday, found that MTA didn’t follow state procurement rules in a number of areas; used existing agreements with colleges to get around state rules for some contracts that required competitive bidding; didn’t properly justify single-bid contracts; didn’t properly make sure that some contracts were fulfilled; and didn’t provide administration computers with sufficient malware protection. (News-Post)

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Johns Hopkins nurses say hospital fails to address patient care concerns

A group of Johns Hopkins Hospital nurses on Saturday slammed the renowned Baltimore institution, saying it fosters poor working conditions for those in their ranks and by doing so, compromises patient care. The nurses — who are in the midst of a contentious campaign to unionize — presented a trio of scathing reports during a town hall meeting at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Each described a version of Johns Hopkins that falls short of its mission. (Balt. Sun)

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Project Safe Neighborhoods aims to ID violent repeat offenders

Almost three years after she was shot and killed on her family porch, 28-year-old Terrell Plumber admitted firing the gun that killed the toddler. His arrest was a result of the federal program, Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is nationwide and is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. It was just awarded a $30 million dollar federal grant. The program also led to the arrest of 21-year-old Montana Baronett, who was labeled “Number One Trigger Puller” in Baltimore City. (WJZ-TV)

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Federal investigation of Md. firefighter’s death recommends changes

A federal investigation reviewing the 2016 fatal shooting of a Maryland firefighter found that 911 public safety call takers did not warn first responders that the possibility of guns had been reported at the scene and that volunteer firefighters were not wearing a common uniform the night of the incident that made it clear who they were. Those flaws and others contributed to the fatal shooting of Prince George's County firefighter John "Skillet" Ulmschneider while he answered a 911 call to check on someone's welfare, according to the fatality investigation report released last week by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (Wash. Post)

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Montgomery still waiting for inspectors to create list of ‘problem’ apartments

For years as a Montgomery County council member, Marc Elrich pushed for legislation to better protect tenants. The effort gained momentum after a deadly gas explosion at a Silver Spring apartment complex in 2016 focused attention on living conditions there. Elrich (D) led passage of a bill that requires county housing inspectors to create a list of "problem" apartment complexes that chronically generate code violations. While most buildings in the county are inspected every three years, those on the list are to be flagged for annual inspections meant to catch problems such as mice, roaches, bedbugs, faulty heating, water damage and mold. But after thousands of additional inspections and violations, and with Elrich about to be sworn in as county executive, the list remains a work in progress. (Wash. Post)

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