Launches Violent Crime Joint Operations Center; Major Expansion of Project Exile; New Funding for Victim Protection; Proposed Legislation to Target Repeat Violent Offenders
Governor Larry Hogan today announced a series of initiatives and legislation to address violent crime in Baltimore City through a multi-pronged approach of enforcement, prevention, legislation, and victim services. The governor is committing nearly $13 million and introducing two new pieces of legislation to utilize all resources available to create the strongest state enforcement presence ever within Baltimore City.
The governor made the announcement at his office in the William Donald Schaefer Building in Baltimore City and was joined by U.S. Marshal Johnny Hughes; Drug Enforcement Agency Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don Hibbert; Maryland Transportation Authority Police Chief Colonel Jerry Jones; Maryland Transit Administration Police Chief Colonel John Gavrilis; Maryland Capitol Police Chief Michael Wilson; Maryland State Police Lt. Colonel Dave Ruel; Interim Baltimore City Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle; Governor’s Office of Homeland Security Director Walter “Pete” Landon; Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Executive Director Glenn Fueston; and other state and local leaders.
“The level of violence in Baltimore City is completely unacceptable – the people who live here are rightfully scared, and citizens all across the state are outraged by the daily headlines of this rampant gang violence,” said Governor Hogan. “I have been bringing together all the federal, state, and local stakeholders to get everyone’s input on what else can be done. As a result of those efforts, we are launching a new coordinated offensive to go after violent crime, gangs, and criminal enterprises.”
The governor announced the launch of a new, state-of-the-art violent crime joint operations center in Baltimore City that will serve as a coordinated operational hub for state, federal, and local law enforcement. A newly formed special operations unit made up of an elite team of Maryland State Troopers, law enforcement partners, a full-time dedicated lead prosecutor, and analysts will be headquartered at the new facility.
The new violent crime joint operations center will also house a major joint strike force consisting of 200 law enforcement officers from 16 federal, state, and local state law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, which will be focused on disrupting and dismantling the violent criminal organizations whose members commit most of the violent crimes in Baltimore City. A total of seven federal, state, and local joint task forces will operate from the operations center, including the violent crime and gang eradication forces of the DEA, ATF, Baltimore Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Services.
“Governor Hogan has made it clear that we will not tolerate ongoing violence in Baltimore City and our state,” said Executive Director Fueston. “This emergency priority plan provides record-level funding that strengthens our army of subject matter experts, expands our ability to listen to the community, and bolsters evidence-based programs with proven results in all three areas of enforcement, victim services, and prevention.”