A task force composed of Maryland State Police troopers, police from the Maryland Transportation Authority and officers with the Baltimore and Anne Arundel county police departments is cracking down on gang and criminal activity on roads near the city’s borders, Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Hogan said, teams of parole and probation agents, police officers and social workers are making unannounced visits in neighborhoods experiencing high levels of violence in Baltimore to check for compliance and offer services to those on court supervision.
Hogan highlighted both initiatives aimed at addressing violent crime at a news conference outside the Maryland State Police Glen Burnie barrack. He also recounted efforts during the nearly eight years of his administration related to law enforcement.
“Working together, we’re using every tool at our disposal to make our neighborhoods safer,” Hogan said.
The Baltimore City Feeder Route Task Force, as the group is known, is patrolling on roads including state Routes 2, 26 and 140 as well as U.S. Route 40, the governor said. The effort launched last month and uses real-time intelligence from the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.
Hogan said the effort has led to dozens of arrests and citations, but he did not go into specifics.
U.S. Attorney Erek Barron said law enforcement at all levels is “heeding the call for action.”
The initiatives, he said, are the “latest examples of how we are innovating our partnership and strategies to meet the challenge of violent crime in our communities.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will screen relevant traffic stops for potential federal prosecution, he said, warning potential law-breakers, “If you intend to drive with guns or drugs on a Maryland road, you better think twice.”
Barron said he’s among the leaders who have been out to visit homes as part of the “Knock and Talk” program. The teams are there to help, he said, but people not in compliance with their court supervision will be accountable.
“Those who turn to guns to solve problems must be deterred by any legal means necessary,” Barron said.
Robert Green, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said people have made positive comments about the “Knock and Talk” initiative and mentioned the case of a grandmother who wanted to figure out how to help two grandchildren on supervision.
The effort includes mental health services, family counseling and employment resources. Teams have already made contact with more than 200 people.
Green said the initiative will focus on those with convictions involving guns and violence.
“We’re looking for compliance,” Green said, “we’re looking to help individuals.”