Greetings!
 
The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) is pleased to provide Baltimore City residents and members of the business community with resources to inform participation in the upcoming Baltimore City elections as part of our election education program.
 
The public information campaign highlights the responses of leading candidates in the races for Mayor and City Council President to the  policy priorities  that the GBC believes will help advance the City at a challenging time in its history.
 
This week's edition of  In Their Words  highlights the policy priority of improving public safety in Baltimore City. Previously, the series showcased responses related to what three actions the Mayoral candidates would take to improve public safety. This week’s edition focuses on what steps as Mayor they would take to enhance cooperation and coordination between federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies. 

The GBC does not endorse or financially support candidates. However, we are committed to informing Baltimore City residents about the upcoming election and we encourage all city voters to vote in the June 2 election. For more information about the upcoming elections, see the Maryland Presidential Primary Fact Sheet  here.
 
As another part of our election education program, the GBC will be hosting a virtual Baltimore City Mayoral Debate with WBAL NewsRadio 1090 AM/101.5 FM on Wednesday, May 27, from 10-11 a.m. Register for the debate  here.
 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at  donaldf@gbc.org .
 
Be safe, stay healthy and remain positive.
 
Sincerely,
Donald C. Fry
Donald C. Fry
President & CEO
Policy Priority

Prioritize enhanced coordination across criminal justice agencies and support evidence-based crime reduction strategies to improve public safety.

Question

As Mayor, what steps would you take to improve coordination across federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies and with the Judiciary?

*Some of the following responses have been excerpted due to length. Please visit the  candidate questionnaires  at GBC.org to see full responses.


"As Mayor, the first thing that I would do, as I mentioned previously, is reinstitute the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council that was disbanded after my administration. As Mayor, I helped coordinate the monthly meetings of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which is the nuts and bolts of Baltimore’s criminal justice system. This consortium of political leaders, judges, law enforcement officials, as well as city and state agencies were tasked with reducing crime and managing the day-to-day operations to include, elements of our court system, surrounding detention facilities and diversion and treatment programs. It included representatives from the Department of Parole and Probation, the State's Attorneys' Office, the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Corrections, Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Public Defender’s Office, the Circuit Court Clerk and other local leaders. While the CJCC was stripped of its funding in 2017 under the past administration, as Mayor, I will commit to reviving those efforts. This will be accomplished through coordination with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, ensuring that these members, along with community and business leaders, are brought together monthly to study the juvenile and criminal justice systems of Baltimore City to identify any deficiencies that may exist and formulate policies and procedures to help improve our system."

"Baltimore can't reduce the present level of violent crime on its own. We should welcome both personnel and funding support from state and federal law enforcement agencies. As Mayor I would create a task force including the U.S. Attorney, the State's Attorney, the Police Commissioner, Parole and Probation and relevant city agencies like the Health Department and Social Services to get everyone on the same page with crime reduction plans. Strategies like focused deterrence require a high level of coordination that the Mayor is uniquely positioned to convene.
 
Throughout my time in the private sector and in President Obama's administration, I frequently had to balance competing interests, personalities, and philosophies and create common objectives to get things done. I would take the same approach in Baltimore and hold everyone accountable."

"Many of the illegal guns used to commit violent crimes in Baltimore come from neighboring states. If we are going to reduce gun violence in Baltimore, we must stop the flow of illegal guns into our communities. As Mayor, I will target illegal gun traffickers and straw purchasers who funnel illegal guns into the city by establishing partnerships between BPD, our neighboring jurisdictions, and other federal agencies like the ATF and FBI. I will ensure people who illegally bring guns into our city are better held accountable.
 
When gun cases get dropped because of unconstitutional policing or investigative practices, people who committed violent crimes can end up back on the streets. As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I investigated why gun cases were getting dropped. I discovered neither the State’s Attorney’s Office nor BPD was even tracking or analyzing this data. As a result, I fought to secure funding for a data analyst position within the State’s Attorney's Office to track cases and identify why charges are being dropped. This data will help the State's Attorney better prepare her attorneys and BPD strengthen its training and investigative practices.
 
As Mayor, I will take a data-driven and analytical approach to criminal justice issues. If chronic instances of unconstitutional policing or bad investigative work are leading to dropped cases, we should know and be prepared to take action to confront it. I will also increase funding to implement a crime analyst program within the State's Attorney's Office to review all cases involving violent repeat offenders. This data will improve our case preparation to ensure cases have a higher probability of being successfully prosecuted and appropriately sentenced."
 
Read full response here .

"I am the only candidate who has previously worn the uniform and been a commander in law enforcement. I have been part of federal task forces and understand the necessity and opportunity involved in a true collaboration. I will use my experience and existing relationships to put forth policies and ensure that our police department is adhering to the strategies that are in place. In order for coordinated crime reduction efforts with state and federal partners to be successful my administration will put forth ideas and strategies that BPD has not used or considered. We will think outside of the box. Under my leadership we will reach across the aisle to work with our Republican governor. This is an opportunity for a Mayor to truly put people over politics. I will be that Mayor. Any plan must be monitored for achievable results and focused on outcomes. The plan must also be flexible and adjustable if it is not achieving the desired results."

"I have pledged to refer carjackings, commercial robberies (including bank robberies), and illegal firearms cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal review and prosecution. These are crimes over which there is federal jurisdiction and referring them to the U.S. Attorney's Office will alleviate the caseload of local police and prosecutors while ensuring these crimes are handled effectively. This will be part of an effort to convene an active working group, similar (but not identical to) the CJCC (the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council). City agencies responsible for housing, economic development, and issues related to juveniles will need to be key to this group.
 
As I have previously written (most recently in the Daily Record), I continue to believe it is inaccurate to blame judges for the violent crime crisis in Baltimore. Judges can do nothing about the overwhelming majority of cases that are dropped, lost at trial, or end with a plea deal. Moreover, judges have consistently issued stiff sentences in the small number cases these days where a jury actually convicts the defendant at trial (which are the only cases in which judges have discretion to impose a sentence).
 
I will, however, work with the Judiciary to create a gun court in Baltimore City, where all crimes involving gun violations (from illegal possession to murders involving firearms) would be administered. This court would help promote consistent treatment of similar cases; enhanced transparency as to how these cases are being handled — by prosecutors and judges; and underscore the importance of prosecuting these cases effectively."

"As Mayor, I continue to work with our State, and Federal partners to reduce crime with a comprehensive approach. I have partnered County Executive Olszewski, County Executive
Pittman, and our surrounding jurisdictions to create a regional gun stat system, that can track the flow of firearms moving through Baltimore and our surrounding jurisdictions. I have worked with Governor Hogan, who has pledged additional money and resources from our state criminal justice agencies to help fight crime in Baltimore."
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