(The Center Square) – Addressing violent crime and expanding state law enforcement are key features of Gov. Larry Hogan’s new proposal to combat crime.

The governor announced a $45 million package, which will be part of a budget supplement later this year, that would expand the state’s capacity to address crime rates, expand law enforcement initiatives, and support victims.

“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,” Hogan said in making the announcement. “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.”

The efforts, according to the release, focus on major violent crime initiatives, provide more resources for the expansion of warrant initiatives in Baltimore, and add more funding to protect victim services providers from federal budget cuts.

Of the proposed $45 million investment, $3.5 million would support additional prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Maryland, including 10 additional special assistant attorneys for the Baltimore office, four for the Greenbelt office, and 10 additional investigators for the Special Investigative Section. Funds would also sustain five data analysts and four legal support professionals.

“Reducing violent crime in Maryland remains our top priority,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron in the release. “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.”

The governor’s proposal, according to the release, would also invest $6.5 million to remove violent offenders from the streets with an expansion of the Baltimore Police Department’s Warrant Apprehension Task Force. Funding would increase participation of state and local law enforcement agencies to clear warrants in high priority cases and offenders, which is a direct request from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

According to the release, the proposal also includes $35 million that would be used to fully fund Victims of Crime Act grants to support victim service providers, who are dealing with the devastating reduction of federal dollars. The new funding comes on top of $37 million that has been previously allocated to the bill as part of Hogan’s Re-Fund The Police program.

The Republican governor’s proposal calls for the Maryland State Police to work in conjunction with local departments for ramping up efforts for tracking open warrants and investigative support for Baltimore police while increasing state police patrols in the 1700 block of North Chester Street, the Broadway East section of the city.

Hogan is urging the House to address the Judicial Transparency Act that has already passed the Senate. The bill would provide for publishing more detailed information on sentences handed down from the courts on violent crime. The governor also urged the Violent Firearms Offender Act to be addressed as well. The legislation calls for tougher penalties for those who commit crimes using illegally possessed firearms.

Brent Addleman

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers...

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