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Ex-delegate: Crime strike force could lift Baltimore

Robert Hur, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, talks about the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a crime-fighting strike force involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Robert Hur, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, talks about the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a crime-fighting strike force involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. (Baltimore Sun Staff/Baltimore Sun)

Recently, The Baltimore Sun published my letter stating that finger-pointing and name-calling do not solve problems in reference to President Donald Trump and Rep. Elijah Cummings’ dispute (“Pat McDonough: Baltimore needs a ‘Solutions Summit’ instead of finger-pointing,” July 31). Now, we have an opportunity to solve a major problem with the creation by the U.S. Attorney of a crime strike force (“Feds and Baltimore police unveil a permanent ‘strike force’ targeting local drug gangs and foreign suppliers,” Sept. 4).

It has been made clear that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney and her staff are overwhelmed with murder cases. The Baltimore Police Department suffers from a shortage of 500 vacancies and an overwhelmed homicide detective unit. The problem is a lack of funding. President Trump and Representative Cummings should come together and create adequate special funding in the new federal budget to help finance the strike force. Citizens in Baltimore and across the nation would be encouraged by such an effort. This development would be a major change in public safety for Baltimore that could result in saving lives.

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Baltimore has achieved national notoriety and even sympathy because of the dispute between President Trump and Representative Cummings. That negative could be flipped into a positive with the advent of special federal funding. The federal government regularly sends special funding for emergency situations such as hurricanes and forest fires. I do not believe that any fair-minded person in the United States would argue that Baltimore is not suffering from an emergency disaster.

This is an opportune time for city leaders to cease the criticism and take positive action.

Pat McDonough

The writer, a Republican, represented District 7, Baltimore and Harford counties, in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003 to 2019.

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