On Feb. 23, Gov. Wes Moore announced significant investments into Baltimore City to reduce crime and appointed Lt. Colonel Roland Butler to lead as head of the Maryland State Police Department. (Courtesy Photos)

By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

Gov. Wes Moore announced a $17 million investment in Baltimore City towards crime reduction on Feb. 23.

“This is not just a Baltimore problem, it’s a Maryland problem,” said Gov. Moore. “Statewide violent crime and its drivers span every jurisdiction in Maryland, and our state has fueled a palpable sense that people do not feel safe.”

The Governor plans to create cross-jurisdictional leadership, strengthen the correctional system, implement parole and probation strategies, follow the data and make significant investments in the community.

“Over the last eight years, homicides and non-fatal shootings have increased in unacceptably high levels across the state,” said Moore. “Homicides and fatal shootings have increased over the last decade statewide, non-fatal shootings have doubled, and homicides increased by about 50 percent.”

Moore also invested $11 million into the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, MCAC, $35 million for victims of crime and $122 million to aid local police departments.

“I’m pleased to share that the MCAC and the city of Baltimore have resumed a partnership,” said Moore. “We’re bringing our state’s elite intelligence and investigations capability to our state’s largest city and a community devastated by crippling crime. The fact that we had MCAC operating and Baltimore City was not part of it makes absolutely no sense.”

Community members responded to the announcement.

“I like how his mind works, thinking about the wholeness of who we are,” said Erica Bridgeford of the Baltimore Peace Movement. “Our joy, peace, and safety matter. If there are upsets in Baltimore, the state is not doing its job. He’s putting his money where his talk is.”

One Baltimore resident is not sure of Moore’s plan.

“We’ve seen executives and mayors throw money at the crime issues in Baltimore, and every time, we did not see a return on that investment,” said Will J. Hanna II, a former legal analyst. “I don’t think they understand the origins of crime in Baltimore, so they can’t address it properly. Is that extra money for hiring more police officers, where some of that is already allocated to the Baltimore City budget?”

Moore also announced the appointment of  Lt. Colonel Roland Butler to the role of superintendent for Maryland State Police. He would be the first African American to assume the position if confirmed.

“It’s truly an honor to step forward and take the reins around the state police,” said Butler. “This will not be easy, but the women and men in the state police are prepared for this and are fully capable of making an impact and improving citizens’ quality of life.”

Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.

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