City to get $3 million to target gun offenders
Grants aimed at better prosecution of gun cases and improved coordination between the police and state’s attorney’s office
Above: Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Batts discuss gun violence in Northeast Baltimore last February.
The state will pay the salaries of more than 20 employees prosecuting gun offenders and other violent criminals at the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office under an agreement expected to be ratified tomorrow.
A $2.46 million “comprehensive violence prosecution” grant will be awarded to the city – along with $605,000 for improved coordination between prosecutors and police – by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
The one-year grants have been placed on tomorrow’s Board of Estimates agenda for formal approval by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other panel members.
The larger grant will cover the salaries and benefits of 21 full-time employees involved in gun trafficking cases, non-fatal shootings and recidivist gun offenders in Baltimore Circuit Court, according to the agreement.
The second grant is aimed at improving coordination among police, prosecutors and correctional officers via computerized information-sharing that identifies and follows “the most violent offenders in the city.”
Last year, a consultant’s report requested by Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts concluded that the program tracking violent repeat offenders (VROs) had “lost its impetus and focus.”
The program’s centerpiece, the VRO lists, had become too long and insufficiently selective, leading to a lack of effective communication between police and State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein’s office, the report stated.
The new grant will pay for personnel to follow the status of VROs, including their parole and probation record, any new arrests and the service of search warrants.
In addition, the state will grant another $65,000 to support an assistant state’s attorney assigned to the U.S. attorney’s office and $115,000 for a city investigative unit looking at criminal behavior inside the prison system.