Baltimore is poised to exceed 300 murders for the 7th straight year. Politicians and those in academia discuss the need to treat gun violence as a disease and invest more in violence interrupter programs. The conversations and methodologies to stop the violence have happened for years. Now there is a coordinated shift from one side to another with social activism calls to “defund the police” and fund programs that target youth and influence behavior.
T.J. Smith is a Baltimore native and career public servant. He began his career of service as a law enforcement officer in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. After being promoted through the ranks, he transitioned into advisory roles for chiefs and elected officials. Smith then became the civilian chief spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department and later he became the press secretary for the Baltimore County Executive. Smith was a 2020 mayoral candidate in Baltimore. After the election, he chaired the Famous Fund, a non-profit organization that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and was established to assist Baltimore restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic closures and restrictions.
TJ Smith - Facebook @TJSmithSocial [facebook.com]
TJ Smith - Twitter @TJSmithSocial [twitter.com]
Dr. Johnny Rice II is an Associate Professor and Chair at the Department of Criminal Justice at Coppin State University, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Research Fellow, Bishop L. Robinson Sr. Justice Institute. He has spent nearly 22 years in leadership in the areas of child welfare, youth development, and criminal justice in efforts to create safe and stable communities. He served as the administrator for the Family Violence, Victims of Crime and Fatherhood Programs for the State of Maryland while at the Maryland Department of Human Resources. As an addictions counselor within the Maryland Correctional System (Patuxent), Dr. Rice worked with incarcerated inmates teaching classes in Moral Problem Solving and Relapse Prevention.
Jason Johnson is the President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, former Baltimore Police Department Deputy Commissioner of the Strategic Services Bureau, retired Prince George’s County, MD Police Department commander, and an attorney.
Jason Johnson- Twitter: @leldf_president [twitter.com]
Angie Smith Winder is a community advocate and Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee Member, District 43 Chair; President at NECO (Northeast Community Organization), and host at Radio On Fire and founder of the Restoring The Village Project.