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General Assembly Pass Bills To Bolster Policing, Crime Prevention

Patrick Semansky

  As state lawmakers hurdle toward an early end to the legislative session, lawmakers passed two bills on Tuesday that aim to help Baltimore with its crime-fighting efforts.

One bill takes responsibilities away from the Baltimore City Police and gives them to other state law enforcement agencies. For example, the Maryland State Police would patrol I-83 and I-295 within city limits, freeing up city police for other tasks. Civilian employees would take over intake at Department of Juvenile Services facilities.

In all, the bill could free up an estimated 70 city police officers for patrols in communities. Baltimore Sen. Antonio Hayes, the lead sponsor of that bill and a co-sponsor of the other.

The bill also designates high-crime “micro-zones” across the state. A coordinator in each zone will act as a community organizer, helping the community to take advantage of existing crime prevention programs and coordinating with the police on community engagement efforts.

The other bill creates a statewide Law Enforcement Coordinating Council “to make sure that not only local jurisdictions like Baltimore City or Prince George’s County or others are in the game by themselves but they actually have the support of our state agencies in their crime fighting,” Hayes said. 

Both measures can now go to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for approval.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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