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The United States Attorney's Office (USAO) administers and promotes the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative sponsored by the Department of Justice. Building on the Maryland EXILE Program and working with the Maryland Safe Streets Initiative, these efforts are having a state-wide impact.
Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) coordinate the prosecutorial efforts of Project Safe Neighborhoods within both the Northern and Southern Divisions of the District of Maryland and are primarily responsible for ensuring that Maryland's state prosecutors have access to federal prosecutorial resources for gun cases. The USAO provides assistance to state prosecutors in reviewing and identifying gun cases that are eligible for federal prosecution pursuant to the referral procedures established by the office. AUSAs work directly with local PSN Task Force personnel and state prosecutors in reviewing potential prosecutions.
Maryland's PSN program, EXILE, is available to any jurisdiction in the state. However, specific PSN Task Forces operate locally in Baltimore City, Prince George's, Wicomico and Harford Counties and in the municipalities of Annapolis, Cumberland, Frederick, and Hagerstown. In each of these jurisdictions, the PSN effort is supported by state and federal grant funds, providing resources for police and prosecutors. These local Task Forces meet monthly to discuss crime problems and issues and to coordinate cases and investigations with AUSAs.
The Maryland PSN program has partnered with agencies and service providers from the following areas:
- Federal Law Enforcement: Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), ATF and FBI.
- State Law Enforcement: Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
- Local Law Enforcement: Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, Prince George's County Police Department, Prince George's County Sheriff's Office, Salisbury City Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Annapolis City Police Department, Wicomico County Sheriff's Office, Frederick Police Department, Cumberland Police Department, Hagerstown Police Department, Harford County Sheriff's Office; Anne Arundel County Police Department and Frederick County Sherriff’s Office.
- State and Local Prosecutors: Maryland Attorney General and the State's Attorney's Offices for Wicomico County, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, Harford County, Allegany County, Frederick County, Washington County and Montgomery County.
- Local Government : Governor's Office for Crime Control & Prevention, State Department of Juvenile Services, the Baltimore Mayor's Office and Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
PSN has enhanced the communication of federal prosecutors with state prosecutors and local law enforcement through Maryland EXILE. Maryland's PSN initiative works closely in supporting the prosecutorial and investigative efforts of gun, violent crime and gang prosecutors across Maryland. The USAO has cross-designated Baltimore City prosecutors to assist in prosecuting many of the city's most violent criminals in federal court, and a Maryland Assistant Attorney General to bring federal prosecutions anywhere in the state. In addition, the USAO and ATF receive federal gun case referrals directly from state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland.
The expansion of key partnerships, and the presence of PSN and other public safety resources, has made it possible for Maryland's PSN Task Force to pursue a wide array of innovative approaches to gun crime:
- Joint federal-local prosecution screening of firearms cases;
- Increased federal prosecution of firearms-related cases;
- Increased state or local prosecution of firearms related cases;
- Deployment of street-level firearms enforcement unit(s);
- Offender notification meetings;
- Directed police patrol in high crime areas;
- Investigations of criminal organizations and gang violence;
- Clergy outreach to offenders;
- Substance abuse programs;
- Education programs.
Since 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office's Law Enforcement Coordination program has provided approximately 41 training programs to state and local law enforcement involving more than 1,600 officers, deputies and troopers on the use of federal firearms laws to remove violent repeat offenders from their communities.