On February 20th, Donald C. Fry was in Annapolis to testify in support of Senate Bill 907 — Public Safety – Crime Plan and Law Enforcement Councils (Maryland State Crime Plan). This bill, sponsored by Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair William Smith, establishes the Law Enforcement Coordinating Council within the Department of State Police to reduce crime by coordinating and focusing State resources to ensure interagency communications and intelligence sharing. While Senate Bill 907 is one of many public safety bills being considered during the 2020 legislative session, the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) contends that Senate Bill 907 is one of the most pivotal.
Requiring increased coordination of law enforcement agencies is a priority of many advocates, including the GBC. A key item in the GBC’s 2020 Legislative Priorities provides that policymakers should strive to “improve public safety through enhanced coordination among criminal justice agencies and implementation of comprehensive violence reduction strategies.” Senate Bill 907 accomplishes this priority by acknowledging that effective law enforcement requires shared intelligence between law enforcement agencies, patrol agreements across jurisdictions, and mutual aid among law enforcement
Coordination has proven to work. In fact, until its dissolution in 2017, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a State-funded consortium of public safety leaders, including prosecutors, state officials, judges, and police, allowed for significant coordination and positive outcomes. The GBC argues that creating a State-level coordination council, with a focus on crime strategy, can be even more effective in reducing violent crime.