Conaways say gun-crime reward offer still stands

The Baltimore Sun

Frank M. Conaway says the Police Department has not taken him up on his family's offer of $10,000 to reward residents who report gun crimes.

The clerk of the Baltimore Circuit Court, whose wife, son and daughter also hold elected office, says his family members wanted to show they were serious about their commitment to combating crime in Baltimore and offered the cash to Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III at a July meeting.

Conaway said Bealefeld seemed enthusiastic and promised to follow up on the offer. But Conaway said he never heard back.

As police hunt for the killer of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr., who was shot in a robbery last weekend, Conaway said he was reminded of the need for police to use all available resources and wants to know why police have let the gift sit.

"We wanted to give the money to the police commissioner to use as he saw fit," Conaway said. "Not that we're independently wealthy - it drains our funds to put up this money - but we thought it was necessary and a good thing to do."

Conaway's politically connected family - his wife, Mary, is city register of wills; his son, Frank Jr., is a state delegate; and his daughter, Belinda, is a city councilwoman - hoped the donation might encourage other politicians to follow suit. He said each family member chipped in about $2,500.

Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Police Department and Mayor Sheila Dixon, said city officials are trying to sort out the logistics of Conaway's offer.

"Mr. Conaway has made a generous offer, which we are very much willing to take advantage of," Clifford said. "But we need to work out the details of who would handle that reward money and how it would be disbursed to people who provide information."

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