BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) today announced $4,258,843 in new federal support for the Baltimore City Police Department through the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP). This federal initiative, announced in December of 2019, aims to increase federal law enforcement resources in seven cities nationwide with high levels of violent crime.
“Despite COVID-19, violent crime continues to persist as serious problem for the city of Baltimore,” said the lawmakers. “These new federal resources will support ongoing collaboration between local, state, and federal governments to serve all of all Baltimore’s communities in accordance with the reforms required by the DOJ consent decree. We will continue to work closely with Baltimore Police Commissioner Harrison, city officials and community stakeholders to provide federal resources and oversight in this important fight.”
“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 Michael 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 US Marshals Service will work to support the Baltimore City Policy Department. This award comes in two parts.
- Baltimore will receive $2,830,272 through the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) to hire 10 federal officers to serve on the ORP task force. It is anticipated that existing veteran officers will be deployed to task force duties, while this funding will be used to hire new recruits to backfill their positions. Baltimore Policy 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 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to support efforts such as the hiring of additional prosecutors, overtime expenses for task force members, multi-agency investigations, mobile data terminals and modern technological platforms, and development of strategic plans to address gaps in combating violent crime.
According to BPD, these funds will be used to use these funds for an innovative approach to address violent crime by bolstering investigative efforts to target violent offenders. Specifically, BPD will plan and deploy modern technology platforms capable of helping investigators identify and locate the violent suspects or vulnerable victims, who otherwise could not be located. These technological enhancements will aid the various BPD specialized units working within federal task forces to investigate and prosecute targeted suspects involved in gangs, drug trafficking, and other violent related crimes, alongside of the city’s State’s Attorney Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigators utilizing the technology have the prior training and experience to provide task force support and deliver a multi-faceted aggressive strategy designed to significantly reduce violent crime. It is these concerted efforts that will enable more case closures, more arrests of repeat offenders, and set the foundation to build stronger federal cases.
Funding will be disbursed over three years. Additional information may be found through the DOJ fact sheet here.