Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (2nd District of Maryland)
(Washington, DC) — Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger helped secure $1.3 million for the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) to purchase additional license plate scanners in legislation that is advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives. The funding was included in the Commerce, Justice and Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2023, which was passed by a House Appropriations subcommittee last night and now goes before the full committee for consideration.
An Appropriator, Congressman Ruppersberger requested the funding on behalf of BPD, which uses license plate scanners to identify stolen vehicles or vehicles that may be driven by people suspected of being involved in a crime. The arrest in the murder of Baltimore City Police Officer Keona Holley was made with the help of a hit from a license plate reader.
“The out-of-control crime is Baltimore City’s number one issue and we must give our police every tool at our disposal if we are going to tackle it head-on,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “All citizens deserve to feel safe in their own community and, while this technology will not prevent or solve crimes alone, it is one more tool in the toolbox. I am proud to have championed this funding on behalf of my constituents and I thank my fellow Appropriators for recognizing the need for this critical funding.”
This $1.3 million will enable BPD to mount new mobile scanners on 100 of 170 new patrol cars that will be purchased during its ongoing fleet replenishment effort, dramatically expanding the capacity of its existing scanning technology. The funding request was endorsed by the Greater Baltimore Committee, which is comprised of hundreds of business and civic leaders, as well as the presidents of Baltimore City’s nine Police Community Relations Councils, which include community leaders and citizens.
“License Plate Readers are a vital tool for our investigators in identifying and apprehending violent offenders. This appropriation will absolutely aid our officers and provide necessary technology in closing cases and bringing justice to those victimized by violent crime,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. “I want to sincerely thank Congressman Ruppersberger and the entire Congressional delegation for their continuous support for and efforts on behalf of the Baltimore Police Department and improving public safety in Baltimore City.”
The project is one of 15 Community Project Funding Requests submitted by Congressman Ruppersberger in the 12 various appropriations bills for 2023. It is among more than 4,700 projects submitted by members of the House of Representatives collectively, only some of which will be approved after careful vetting. All requests are subject to strict transparency and accountability rules, which can be found here.
The $85.5 billion CJS appropriations bill funds agencies and programs in the Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation. The legislation supports economic development and law enforcement, including efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, gun violence, violence against women, climate change and more.
Under Maryland law, license plate readers can only be used to aid criminal investigations and prosecutions. All data collected is confidential and can only be stored for a limited time.