ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Governor Larry Hogan today announced $45 million for major violent crime initiatives, more resources to expand warrant initiatives in Baltimore City, and additional funding to protect victim services providers from devastating federal cuts. The governor also announced expanded initiatives and coordination to address violent crime in Baltimore City, and again called on the Maryland General Assembly to pass his emergency crime bills.
“These are critical investments of funding and manpower to assist Baltimore City law enforcement, and we will continue to take additional actions at the state level to back them up in every way we can,” said Governor Hogan. “With only 18 days left of the session, both the House and the Senate need to finish the job by finally passing the Violent Firearms Offender Act, which will actually help us get the shooters and murderers off the streets.”
$45 MILLION FOR MAJOR VIOLENT CRIME INITIATIVES:
$3.5 million to support additional prosecutors and staff for the United States Attorney’s office for the District of Maryland, including:
- 10 additional Special Assistant United States Attorneys for the Baltimore Office;
- Four additional Special Assistant United States Attorneys for the Greenbelt Office;
- 10 additional investigators for the Special Investigative Section; and
- Five data analysts, and four legal support personnel.
“Reducing violent crime in Maryland remains our top priority,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron. “I am grateful for the unprecedented level of additional resources the governor has provided to my office to combat violence in Baltimore, Prince George’s County, and throughout the state. These resources, coupled with support from Attorney General Brian Frosh, will allow us to remove more violent criminals, especially repeat violent offenders, from the streets, having an immediate impact on the safety of our communities.”
$6.5 million to get more violent offenders off the streets by:
- Expanding the Baltimore Police Department’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force (WATF); and
- Increasing the participation of state and regional law enforcement partners to clear warrants for the highest priority cases and offenders.
- This funding was a direct request from Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott.
$35 million to guard against devastating federal cuts and fully fund Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants to support victim services providers.
- This funding is in addition to the $37 million previously committed to VOCA funding as part of the Re-Fund The Police Initiative.
“We’re so appreciative of Governor Hogan’s continued commitment to partner with all 118 victim services providers throughout the State of Maryland through his budgetary support of $35 million in VOCA bridge funding in the supplemental budget,” said Adam Rosenberg, executive director of Center for Hope. “These funds will ensure continued services and support provided by nonprofit agencies, municipalities, hospitals, and government partners for tens of thousands of survivors of violence of all ages and all crimes.”
ENHANCED COORDINATION AND INITIATIVES WITH BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT:
Maryland State Police (MSP) and state law enforcement agencies are providing enhanced support and coordination in a number of areas, including:
- Ongoing MSP participation in the Warrant Apprehension Task Force;
- Ramped up tracking of open warrants for violent criminals, and ongoing investigative support to the Baltimore Police Department (BPD);
- Increased enhanced visibility patrols by state police agencies, including the 1700 block of N. Chester St;
- Partnering on BPD’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force, with MSP’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Automotive Safety Enforcement Division conducting ongoing patrols;
- Division of Parole & Probation officers continue to be embedded throughout the city;
- Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN) providing investigative assistance and coordination on Baltimore City cases and cases impacting surrounding jurisdictions; and
- Ongoing planning for additional joint warrant surge initiatives.
PRESSES FOR PASSAGE OF EMERGENCY CRIME BILLS:
Governor Hogan called on the General Assembly to pass his emergency crime bills, including:
- The Judicial Transparency Act (SB 392), which unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month. The measure will require that, for the first time, detailed information is published on the sentences that are handed down for violent crimes.
- The Violent Firearms Offender Act (HB 423/SB 396) to significantly toughen penalties for offenders who use and illegally possess firearms, as well as those who illegally supply firearms to criminals.
- The governor noted that some of the key provisions of this legislation are included in SB 861, which also passed the Senate. Those provisions include: changing from a misdemeanor to a felony the use of a firearm in commission of a violent crime, changing from a misdemeanor to a felony the use of an assault weapon in commission of a violent crime, clarifying that the theft of a handgun is a felony, and strengthening prosecutions of gun crimes by making sure trials move forward with crucial firearms evidence.
The funding initiatives announced by the governor today will be included in a future supplemental budget.