A new year started, and the violence never stopped. In the first week of 2022, Baltimore saw several teenagers among its shooting victims. In fact, the first two murders and several shootings were all teenagers.
The Mayor, State’s Attorney, and Police Commissioner had strong words for the violent offenders who wreak havoc on the city, but the question remains, will any of their policy changes work?
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.
Oana Brooks is an experienced trial lawyer and an Association of Title IX Administrators’ certified Civil Rights Investigator. She is the founder of Brooks Law LLC, a boutique law firm that focuses on civil litigation, criminal defense and appeals, and administrative matters in higher education. Ms. Brooks also represents police officers involved in internal investigations; students and employees accused of sexual misconduct and facing campus investigations and proceedings; and assists colleges, universities, and other businesses and non-profits with developing policies, maintaining compliance, training, and investigating protected class-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Her previous experience includes serving as an Assistant State’s Attorney for the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, where she prosecuted felony violent crimes including attempted murders and sexual offenses, and supervised attorneys and staff while serving as Chief of the Juvenile Division and Deputy Division Chief for District Court prior to that. She also served as an Equity Compliance Investigator for the Johns Hopkins University (JHU). There, she investigated allegations of protected class-based discrimination involving students, staff, and faculty on all JHU campuses, domestic and international, as well as parts of the hospital.
Ms. Brooks is originally from Romania but has resided in Baltimore for more than 20 years. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Ms. Brooks was selected as a 2022 Maryland Super Lawyer, and is the recipient of The Daily Record’s 2019 Leadership in Law Award; The Daily Record’s 2018 and 2016 Top 100 Women Award; United Way of Central Maryland’s 2016 Philanthropic 5 Award; The Daily Record’s 2014 Leading Women Award; and the Junior League of Baltimore’s 2014 Mary Goodwillie Award.
John Dedie was born in Western New York and started following politics during the 1968 presidential campaign. He graduated from Genesee Community College in Batavia, NY in 1981 with an AS degree in Communications and Media Arts. In 1983 he received a BS degree from SUNY at Fredonia in Communications/Media. In 1990 he received a MA degree in Political Science from the University at Buffalo.
During the 1980’s he started working on a variety of political campaigns. In 1984 he volunteered on the Gary Hart for President Campaign and in 1988 for Senator Al Gore.
In 1991, Mr. Dedie moved to Maryland and in 1993 started teaching as an adjunct instructor for Baltimore City Community College. He taught Political Science and History classes for BCCC at the Maryland State Prison in downtown Baltimore. Since 1996 he has been teaching classes for the Community Colleges of Baltimore County. Since 2002 he have served as a Political Analyst for WBFF-TV Fox 45 in Baltimore and Maryland Public Television (MPT) along with the Baltimore Sun, WBAL Radio, AP and KABC in Los Angeles