The Issues

Fighting Against Policies that are Soft on Crime but Tough on Police

Chris West

Chris understands safe neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong community.

The Baltimore County Police Department has no stronger supporter than me.Last year, I spent most of my time trying to beat back a bevy of anti-policing bills.After working on the bills for a solid month – and for much of that time, I was in constant cellphone contact with the President of the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police - I thought we had fixed their innumerable problems, and they passed the State Senate overwhelmingly.But hold on.When the bills reached the House of Delegates, leftwing advocates pitched a fit, and the bills that the Senate had passed were all tossed in the trashcan.Instead, the House sent back to the State Senate a new set of anti-policing bills that were worse than the original versions of the bills that we had fixed.The bills were unfixable in the limited time left in the session.These anti-policing bills simply broke the back of police morale across the State.As a result, so many senior officers have taken early retirement, and so many mid-career officers have resigned their positions to take jobs in the private sector, and so few qualified young people are applying to become police officers that here in Baltimore County, there are hundreds of vacancies in our Baltimore County Police Department.The same is true in every police department across the State.

The result of badly understaffed police departments is that violent crime is soaring, particularly in Baltimore City, and is increasingly spreading out into Baltimore County.Last year 337 people were murdered in Baltimore City.Here in Baltimore County, we broke our own murder record in mid-November, with 50 homicides.Statewide, the increase in violent crime has been staggering, with homicides jumping 33% in the last three years and non-fatal shootings climbing 36%.

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