BALTIMORE, Md. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today joined U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Governor Robert Ehrlich to kick off a statewide conference to gather information and best practices to fight Maryland's growing gang problem. Senator Mikulski secured the federal funds that paid for the day-long conference. In addition to Maryland's U.S. Attorney's Office, the conference was co-sponsored by the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Maryland Crime Prevention Association.
"The U.S. Attorney and I agreed this conference had to be the first step - bringing together the best minds, the best ideas and the best practices. We have all come together as Team Maryland to address a growing gang crisis in our neighborhoods that is destroying lives and destroying communities," said Senator Mikulski. "We need to take a comprehensive look at gang problem that focuses on prevention, intervention and enforcement."
As the senior Democrat on the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski secured $2 million in federal funds for the creation of a statewide anti-gang initiative in the 2006 spending bill.
The federal funding will support the U.S. Attorney's Office in its coordination of local, state and federal law enforcement, and will pay for prosecutorial and anti-gang programs in the Baltimore metro area and throughout Maryland. This initiative will create a more efficient and effective approach to help communities combat gang activity.
In addition to coordinating gang intervention and prevention efforts, the funding will also allow the U.S. Attorney's Office to increase the prosecution of gangs and gang-related crime, support existing programs with proven track records in intervention and prevention efforts, and solicit grant proposals to solve gang-related problems that are not currently being addressed.
"No one can do it alone, that's why I fought in the Senate to create a federal partnership," said Senator Mikulski. "It's going to be tough this year - President Bush's budget proposes to cut over $1 billion from local law enforcement budgets - but I will continue to do what I can to get the resources we need to tackle this issue head-on."
Senator Mikulski is one of two federal senators for the state of Maryland. She is classified as a Class III Senator. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class-approximately one-third of the Senators-face election or reelection. Terms for Senators in Class I expire in 2007, Class II in 2009, and Class III in 2011.
Ms. Mikulski's website is located at http://mikulski.senate.gov/. Her office can be reached at (202) 224-4654. More biographical info on Ms. Mikulski can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Mikulski.