By LEONARD SPARKS
WASHINGTON (April 2, 2009)—Maryland and District officials are bolstering efforts to corral violent offenders who cross their borders to commit crimes, Gov. Martin O'Malley and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced Thursday.
Law enforcement officials from both jurisdictions will meet four times a year to share information on adults and juveniles with histories of violent crime.
The District is also considering a legislative remedy to a problem in executing warrants on hundreds of its parolees living in Maryland.
"There is so much information that we are now sharing that two years ago we did not share, and yet there is so much more information that we could be sharing," O'Malley said.
"There are a number of violent offenders who are out on the streets today who should not be out on the streets."
Of particular concern are limitations on the District's ability to extradite its parolees who live in Maryland and face warrants for other crimes and parole violations.
About 500 Maryland residents under D.C. parole and probation supervision have open warrants, said Kristen Mahoney, director of the governor's office of crime control and prevention.
But the District's ability to bring offenders back to face charges is weakened when the warrants are for misdemeanor offenses, about 400 of the current cases.
Current law prevents the District from executing warrants outside its territory for misdemeanors when the penalty is no more than a year in prison or a fine.
"You may be a very violent offender who's committed a lot of violent crimes," said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. "But ... right now there's impediments in getting them extradited back."
Among the responses being considered, Fenty said, is a change in D.C. law and options for streamlining a warrant process that is slow and reliant on federal agencies, Fenty said.
While O'Malley "has all of the players reporting to him," Fenty said, the U.S. Parole Commission and the federal Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency oversee District parolees.
"The local residents lose a lot of control, a lot of accountability," he said.
Maryland and District officials will meet within the next week to consider legislation or an amendment to a crime bill set for a May 18 hearing before the District's City Council.
Any new proposals would focus on extradition, parole, probation and the role of the U.S. Parole Commission, said District Attorney General Peter Nickles.
"This is not something we're going to let roll over," Nickles said. "We're committed to get this done on or before May 18."
Capital News Service contributed to this report.