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Former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich tapped by Trump to U.S. Department of Justice post

Former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich.
Former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich.(Baltimore Sun file photo by Jed Kirschbaum)

President Donald Trump has named former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich to lead the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to monitor, apprehend and track sex offenders.

In an announcement Friday by the White House, the president said he intends to appoint Ehrlich as director of the Office of Sex Offenders, Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking.

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Ehrlich, a former Anne Arundel County prosecutor, is the wife of former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who served as Maryland’s chief executive from 2003 to 2007.

The Justice Department office — known as the SMART office — directs local governments in following the provisions of the Adam Walsh Act. Named for a 6-year-old Florida boy who was murdered in 1981, the act was signed in 2006 to keep children safe from kidnapping and exploitation. The act expanded the national sex offender registry, increased penalties for crimes against children and put more resources into fighting internet crimes that harm kids. Adam’s murder also inspired the television show “America’s Most Wanted," which was hosted by his father John Walsh.

In her new role, Ehrlich will track legislative and legal developments related to sex offenders and administer grant programs related to the registration, notification, and management of sex offenders, according to the office’s website.

This is not the first time Trump has tapped Ehrlich for federal service. In August, the president announced Ehrlich would be the White House’s deputy head of drug control policy. She had been serving as the associate director of external affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In that role, she managed the public appearances for Jim Carroll, then the drug policy director.

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