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Baltimore’s innovation team is ‘just getting started’

The small team is tasked with working on specific issues to help city government work better. First up: police recruiting.

Baltimore City Hall. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s a new “I-Team” in Baltimore City Hall.
The innovation team which was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies earlier this year began work recently.
“What Michael [Bloomberg] does is he funds these innovation teams that come into your city, work with you, become part of your administration and are focused on particular areas that the mayor deems are very important,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said at her recent weekly news conference.
The team is still growing.
“We’re just getting started,” Dan Hymowitz, who is the director of the innovation team, said. He previously worked with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. “Today we’re a team of three, soon to be four.”
The other current members of the team are Tamika Gauvin, who is a program manager, and data scientist Justin Elszasz.

Mayor Pugh with Baltimore's new innovation team. (Screenshot via Facebook)

Mayor Pugh with Baltimore’s new innovation team. (Screenshot via Facebook)

For their first assignment, the team is tackling recruitment and retention of police officers.
Last week, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said hiring outpaced losses among the ranks, the Baltimore Sun reported. However, much work remains to be done in this area. Pugh mentioned potential to bring change to the recruitment system as well as how background checks are conducted.
Pugh said she expects housing and homelessness to be the second focus area for the team.
Bloomberg funds similar teams in other cities, providing more resources for the team to get ideas, Hymowitz said.
“We’re city employees but we are part of this wider network of innovation teams from around the country, which is part of really exciting, powerful thing, as well,” he said.

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