- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013 takes aim at gun trafficking, among other public safety initiatives.
The spending plan released this week includes $20.8 million in competitive grants local law enforcement grants to target domestic violence, substance abuse and gun trafficking.
Another $45.4 million in formula based-grants is being made available for police aid to local governments and municipalities.
The public safety grants can pay big dividends in reducing violent crimes, said Lt. Mark K. Lewis of the Cambridge Police Department.
“When we have a neighborhood with a propensity for gun violence, we can use the grant so we saturate those areas proactively with bicycle patrols, undercover officers,” Lewis said.
“We’re trying to take the guns off the street. It’s been fairly successful.”
Last year, Cambridge police seized 28 firearms and made 24 arrests with officers working under a $9,000 grant, said Bill Toohey, spokesman for the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which administers the grant programs.
Jurisdictions with a problem can apply for the state funds, he said.
The domestic violence grants subsidize a variety of enforcement and prevention efforts, Toohey said.
Some of the funds have gone to training programs at five hospitals around the state to help emergency room staff identify signs of domestic violence, Toohey said.
The training also covers how to ask questions of potential victims and how to save possible evidence from domestic violence victims, such as bloody clothing that might otherwise get thrown away in medical waste disposal bags.
The training is going to expand to a sixth hospital next week in Hagerstown.