Governor Larry Hogan Makes Heroin Grant Awards Announcement in Western Maryland
Funds Intended to Help Western Maryland Target Drug Traffickers and Prevent Overdoses
ANNAPOLIS, MD – As part of a four-day visit to Western Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan today joined Christopher B. Shank, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, and law enforcement officials to award $91,760 to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and $125,000 to the Maryland State Police to identify and prosecute drug traffickers and help those struggling with drug addiction get the best possible treatment.
The grant to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office will be used for a deputy to investigate overdose cases, with the ultimate goal of identifying dealers and suppliers for prosecution, as well as a drug reentry coordinator who will work with the Washington County Detention Center and the Washington County Narcotics Task Force to help facilitate treatment for addicts, and overtime pay for investigators. Additionally, the funds will provide for Cellebrite technology enhancements to enable law enforcement to access crucial information to identify and prosecute drug traffickers. Maryland State Police will use the funds for technology improvements to aid in narcotics interdiction efforts in the region.
“Addressing the heroin and opioid epidemic in our state has been a top priority of our administration from day one and it will continue to be going forward,” said Governor Hogan. “These grants are just one part of our efforts to identify drug traffickers and dealers who are contributing to overdoses and deaths in this region and throughout the state – and to finally shut down the ‘heroin highway’ for good.”
“This funding will have a significant impact on heroin trafficking and abuse in Western Maryland,” said Christopher B. Shank, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. “This grant will strengthen Washington County’s ability to track down and arrest drug traffickers, and at the same time provide additional support to ongoing efforts to help offenders break free of their addiction. Our goal is to break the back of the drug trade, and take away their customers for good.”
“These grant funds are vital to Washington County and in assisting us with reducing overdoses, deaths, and the treatment of individuals with addiction issues,” said Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore. “In addition, the reentry coordinator would serve as a navigator for getting those who need services enrolled in the right ones as quickly as possible.”
Last February, the governor signed an Executive Order creating the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force. The Task Force—made up of 11 members with expertise in addiction treatment, law enforcement, education, and prevention, including a mother who lost her daughter to a heroin overdose—advises and assists the governor in establishing a coordinated statewide and multi-jurisdictional effort to prevent, treat, and significantly reduce heroin and opioid abuse in the state.
A week ago today, the Task Force submitted its final report to the governor. The report provided 33 recommendations aimed at increasing quality treatment options for those struggling with addiction and strengthening law enforcement’s ability to target and prosecute drug traffickers.
In October, the Hogan administration awarded a 12-month grant of $55,532 to the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office for a new prosecution program aimed at offenders, many of them drug dealers, who are responsible for much of the crime in that county. “The Prosecution Partnership Targeting Priority Offenders” program will also enhance the existing Cumberland Safe Streets Program by using evidence-based techniques to successfully prosecute priority offenders, particularly those who are contributing to the substantial heroin problem in Allegany County.
The funding for the Allegany County program is from the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, which supports a broad range of state and local criminal justice initiatives.