As Montgomery County State’s Attorney, Doug led the Joint Sniper Task Force that captured the Beltway Sniper, whom he then prosecuted and convicted. For 22 days, the terror of being randomly shot brought many parts of suburban Maryland to a standstill.
Doug is running for governor because crime is exploding across the state, and he will bring the same sense of urgency he brought to the Beltway Sniper to every violent act in Maryland. The number one job of government is to keep people safe, and right now the government is failing at that job. Too many Marylanders don’t feel safe because they are not safe. For example, Baltimore is pushing 400 murders per year, and only 41 percent of them are solved. You have a better chance of getting away with murder in Baltimore than you do of going to jail. Even more tragically, homicide is the number one cause of unexpected death of children in Baltimore.
But Baltimore does not have a monopoly on crime. Carjackings and other crimes are on the rise in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, children are bringing guns to school across the state, and teenagers in Frederick are terrorizing the community by using splat guns to mimic drive-by shootings. Meanwhile, the Asian and Jewish communities are on-guard throughout Maryland due to a rise in hate crimes, while there has also been an increase in reported hate crimes against Black and Latino Marylanders.
Doug refuses to accept violence and fear as a reality we have to live with. Because in addition to those directly harmed, violence hurts our society, our neighborhoods, and our children. Students exposed to nearby violence struggle in school, with the threat of violence occupying their minds rather than their schoolwork. Businesses and restaurants that depend on foot traffic cannot thrive if people are too afraid to walk the street. Violent crime is not just a symptom of entrenched poverty and inequality, but also a continuing cause.
And as the only candidate in the race with any background in criminal justice, Doug is the right leader Maryland needs for this moment. He spent 22 years – as a federal prosecutor, Montgomery County State’s Attorney, and Attorney General – fighting violent crime. He prosecuted murderers and child sex abusers, even unanimously winning in the United States Supreme Court, while also dramatically reducing crime by instituting progressive criminal justice reforms.
Doug understands that we have to stop violent crime dead in its tracks while also addressing the root causes of crime by investing in our communities. In Montgomery County, the largest most diverse jurisdiction in Maryland with over one million people, there were fewer than 13 murders in a year when Doug was the chief law enforcement officer. He and his running mate Candace Hollingsworth, who revitalized her city of Hyattsville during her tenure as mayor, will make Maryland safe and do so in a way that is fair.
As mayor of the City of Hyattsville, Candace led a growing city out of dysfunction to become one of the region’s hottest places to live. A large part of that success was due to her administration’s unparalleled investment in economic development and community services, particularly for youth and seniors. Hyattsville is safer because its police department was better trained, public services were better resourced, local businesses were supported, and community members’ voices were a part of it all.
Together, Doug and Candace are the only team with executive leadership, a background in law enforcement, a professional record of leading with justice, and experience building strong communities. With Doug’s experience in addressing violent crime and Candace’s experience in community development, they will build a better Maryland block by block.
This is the Gansler-Hollingsworth plan to make Maryland safe by bringing crime down and justice up.
- Hire 1000 new police officers across the state. Maryland needs more and better-trained police officers. It’s that simple. In particular, we have too few detectives solving violent crime and helping us get murderers and rapists off the streets. Homicide detectives in Baltimore have nearly triple the optimal caseload for murder detectives. That number is even worse for detectives solving shootings. We need officers walking the streets, getting to know members of the community, establishing deep relationships in the community, and preventing and solving crime.
- Solve every murder. While other cities in America saw a great crime decline from 1995 to 2015, Baltimore was left out because of LEADERSHIP failures in our state, and the problem has only gotten worse. Homicide is the number one cause of unexpected death in Baltimore children, and the city is pushing 400 total murders per year, with only 41 percent of them getting solved. You have a better chance of getting away with murder in Baltimore than you do of going to jail. The Gansler-Hollingsworth administration will ensure that our detectives have the resources they need to solve every murder and get families the justice they deserve. Doug has prosecuted dozens of murderers, including some of the worst criminals in Maryland history, such as the murderer of Monsignor Thomas Wells (Robert Lucas), the murderer of dozens of young woman and children (Hadden Clark), a cold-case multiple baby killer (Garrett Wilson), and the murderer of Kyle Olinger (Terrance Green).
- Better-paid and better-trained police in the field. It is clear that when more police are visible, crime is deterred and guns are removed from our streets. Law enforcement agencies across the state are struggling to keep talented, community-oriented officers and fill the vacancies they leave behind. We must address these shortages by working with departments to raise the starting salary, building a pipeline of better-trained officers, and bringing Marylanders back home to live and serve. We should not just hand an 18-year-old a gun and a badge and say, “have at it.” We must:
- Require police to be trained in how to de-escalate violent situations.
- Conduct a racial justice and diversity audit of every police department in Maryland. That requires a full, in-depth audit of hiring practices and training procedures of every department from day one, to identify the problems affecting our police departments.
- There is no better way to establish community relationships than by living and being present where you work. We will institute “live where you work” tax credits so that police officers can live in the communities where they serve and enjoy the improved quality of life they work to create.
- 10,000 lights in Baltimore. We know that increasing lights in dangerous areas reduces crime, because it increases visibility. And cameras across the state, including in places like the boardwalk in Ocean City, help us prevent crime without increased police involvement in traffic enforcement. It is critical that we invest in these vital tools to increase our chances of solving violent crimes and keeping our streets safe.
- Fast track funding for projects – including infrastructure, recreation and social service — in high-crime areas. A broad swath of evidence supports what we all know: investing in community programs against violence stops violence. As Attorney General, Doug founded and coached a first of its kind youth lacrosse league for at-risk youth in Baltimore. Doug served on boards such as Year Up, College Track, College Bound, Washington Regional Alcohol Program, Brennan Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, and chaired the Governor’s Family Violence Council. It is time we take an all-hands-on-deck approach to fighting crime and fund these programs, including recreation centers. Participation in a summer jobs program reduced violent crime among the participants by 17%. The Gansler-Hollingsworth administration will increase the number of recreational programs and facilities for youth and young adults across the state.
- Prioritize returning citizens’ employment opportunities. The burden of prison should not extend to obtaining a job after incarceration. It is not only good for those returning from incarceration but for all of us, as employment reduces recidivism. We must invest in obtaining employment for every single person coming out of prison.
- Prioritize gun crimes and go after gun traffickers in order to remove illegal firearms and violent offenders from our streets. Convicted felons who commit a crime of violence with a firearm need to be removed from our streets. Violent crimes committed with a firearm should be removed to the United States Attorney’s Office. We must also go after gun traffickers who bring in guns from out of state and undermine our gun control laws. We will pursue illegal and ghost guns and those who flood our streets with them.
- Carjackings. Nobody should be praying that the red light turns green so that they will not be carjacked. We will prioritize carjacking cases along with other gun crimes. Our 10,000 cameras and street lights will help us catch and prosecute would-be carjackers. And we’ll put police on corners that are currently high risk.
- Fund armed School Resource Officers to ensure that our children and teachers are safe. Place only the very best officers in schools. Our children are facing two years of learning loss due to COVID in addition to learning gaps that already existed. For many students, school is not the safe haven it should be and when schools are not safe, children cannot learn. Armed school resource officers are the first line of defense in the event of a school shooting. They can also break up fights and gangs so that teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. School administrators cannot farm out everyday disciplinary issues to the juvenile justice system. Instead, School Resource Officers must be integrated as part of the network of trusted adults that support every student. That’s why the Gansler-Hollingsworth Administration will work to increase the number of properly trained SROs across the state.
- Community prosecution. Under Doug’s leadership, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office was the first in the country to fully implement community prosecution – which is when prosecutors are assigned to cover all crimes within a neighborhood. By partnering with community police, prosecutors became intimately familiar with who the good and bad actors are in a neighborhood. Knowledge is power, and when they know a community they will be better able to stop violence and practically prevent and solve crimes in that area.
- Prosecutorial review of all charging documents immediately upon arrest. This practice, known as papering, will ensure immediate review of every arrest, and help to reduce unnecessary time in custody for baseless charges. This component of community prosecution also strengthens building cases against violent and repeat criminals at the inception of an arrest.
- Establish drug courts in every jurisdiction. We must stop treating drug use as an issue that can be solved with imprisonment and start treating it like the public health crisis that it is. We improve the lives of those impacted and of all of us if we expand drug courts to divert people away from prison and towards treatment. Studies have found that crime falls when communities invest in drug treatment and health care. Doug, who established the first drug courts in the state, will withhold state funding from counties that do not have drug courts.
- Use data and technology to prevent violent crime. Doug relied on what at the time was cutting-edge DNA technology to solve rape and murder cases. As governor, he will make use of all available technology to solve crimes. Technology like police dash cams can also be used to take a picture and send people a ticket in the mail rather than pulling them over. This would save everyone time and get cops back to patrols.
- Hold irresponsible social media companies accountable for inciting violence. As Attorney General, Doug worked with companies like Craigslist and Myspace to keep children safe from sex trafficking and cyberbullying. Today, people are using platforms like TikTok to encourage others to commit acts of violence like carjackings. Doug will hold these companies accountable to ensure that their platforms are not being used to further violence in Maryland.
- Make public safety every agency’s business. Making Maryland a safer place to live will require sustained and coordinated action with state agencies and local leadership. Safer communities do not occur by accident, they happen with effective leadership and deliberate action. We know where crime occurs, and we will use this data to develop a multi-agency collaborative to address the root causes of crime with results that residents can see every day. The Gansler-Hollingsworth Administration will prioritize high-crime and low-resource areas for funding to improve public infrastructure like road repairs and street lighting, employment services, education, and community programs.
- Mental health access for first responders. We will ensure that all state, county and municipal police departments have immediate access to mental health professionals with specific expertise in conflict resolution, substance addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Expand domestic violence dockets. Doug established the first domestic violence docket in Maryland when he was Montgomery County State’s Attorney. He will require all counties to have a domestic violence docket to receive state funding, and he will ensure the state budget provides for wrap-around services, including 24-hour child care, to support survivors of domestic violence who are trying to leave abusive living situations, just as he created in founding the Family Justice Center in Montgomery County.
- Build community power by funding community-based and community-led violence prevention programs. For every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents, the murder rate drops by 9 percent. Greening vacant lots significantly reduces violent crime in the area by increasing the sense of community in the area. Violence intervention programs reduce crime and are most effective when led by the communities they serve. The Gansler-Hollingsworth administration will empower local communities in restoring the social contract to look after one another and make their communities safer. We will invest in community-led programs that are proven to stop violence and improve our communities.
- Target hate crimes. In the United States, while Jewish people are just 2% of the US population, they are nearly 60% of the victims of religiously motivated hate crimes, making the Jewish community the most targeted religious group in America. Asian Americans have seen hate crimes against their communities grow. Black and Muslim Americans face constant racialized threat. Our administration will expand the Hate Crimes Task Force and bring together law enforcement, civil rights agencies, and community-based organizations to put an end to the tide of hate crimes in this state.
- End the era of under-protection and over-policing for Black Marylanders, and focus on violent crime. Doug co-chaired the Montgomery County NAACP Criminal Justice Committee starting in 1989. As Attorney General, he created the first-ever Director of Civil Rights position in the office and published a groundbreaking report to provide guidance on taser training protocols that now are used nationally by law enforcement. Doug knows we need to end the plague of violence in Maryland while ensuring a fair and unbiased criminal justice system. Black Marylanders deserve a criminal justice system that works for them, not against them. Doug will make Maryland a national leader in getting public safety right.
- A goal of zero police shootings. A safe community is also one that is safe from police violence. While extremely rare in Maryland, when citizens are harmed by police, it has a devastating impact. Communities stop trusting the police, and report fewer shootings. Students who live in neighborhoods that have experienced police violence perform worse academically. We cannot entertain the false choice of stopping violent crime against preventing police violence. The Gansler-Hollingsworth administration will turn every stone to end police shootings in Maryland: from better training, to pursuing more restrictive but practical use of force policies, to increasing the age of the police force. Furthermore, we must put every police shooting in front of a grand jury, just as Doug did as Montgomery County State’s Attorney. We will also support the creation of mental crisis response teams throughout the state. We must do whatever it takes to prevent police violence, not just because it is unjust, but because it increases violent crime.