Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.), to announce $4,258,843 in new federal funding to reduce crime and improve public safety in Baltimore City.
Funding comes from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP). This federal initiative, announced in December 2019, aims to increase federal law enforcement resources in seven cities nationwide with high levels of violent crime.
“Despite the COVID-19 crisis, violent crime continues to persist as a serious problem in the City of Baltimore,” the lawmakers said. “These new federal resources will support ongoing collaboration between local, state and federal governments to serve Baltimore communities in accordance with the reforms required by the DOJ consent decree. We will continue to work closely with Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, city officials and community stakeholders to provide federal resources and oversight in this important effort.”
“I want to thank our federal delegation and law enforcement partners in supporting and collaborating with the Baltimore Police Department in bolstering our efforts to reduce crime and apprehend some of the worst offenders in our city,” said Commissioner Harrison. “This multi-agency operation will assist the department in deploying technological enhancements and delivering a multi-faceted and thoughtful strategy for sustainable crime reduction.”
These funds will support the work of a new federal-state-local task force on organized crime. Federal agencies including ATF, DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service will work to support the Baltimore City Policy Department. Funding comes in two parts and will be disbursed over three years:
- Baltimore will receive $2,830,272 through the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) to hire 10 federal officers to serve on the ORP task force. Commissioner Harrison has made clear that police hiring is essential in his efforts to addressing the crime rate and implementing the federal consent decree.
- Baltimore will also receive $1,428,571 through the BJA to hire additional prosecutors, cover overtime expenses for task force members, support multi-agency investigations, provide mobile data terminals, implement modern technological platforms and develop strategic plans to address gaps in combating violent crime.