Baltimore, MD – The U.S. Marshals Service and task force partners conducted Operation Bless Baltimore as a large-scale, public safety initiative charged with operationalizing community policing strategies across all levels of government within the area of Baltimore. The U.S. Marshals Service partnered with federal, state, and local officials to support the Feds Feed Families (FFF) food drive and local charities via the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Additionally, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force provided operational support for the public safety partnership.
In September 2022, the District of Maryland’s Silver Shield community oriented policing unit formed this partnership between the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, University of Maryland, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland State Police.
“Our nation was founded on the concept that the government receives its power from the people – that the government works for the people,” said Johnny L. Hughes, U.S. Marshal for the District of Maryland. “We embrace community policing because it aligns with the fundamental principles of our democracy. By taking care of each other, we give everyone hope.”
“The Baltimore Police Department is proud to partner with the U.S. Marshals Service and our state and federal partners in supporting Operation Bless Baltimore,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. “We know that this community policing-led initiative helped in building relationships with law enforcement and our communities, and also enhanced the lives of those who benefited from these efforts.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron provided the collective support of their offices. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; FBI; Drug Enforcement Administration; Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Secret Service provided substantial support for the initiative.
“While the U.S. Marshals Service is well known for being the enforcement arm of the federal court system, we established the Silver Shield unit to strengthen our bond with the community,” stated Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Mathew Silverman. “The Marshal, Chief Rachel Gibson, and I have committed to supporting the U.S. Marshals Service in becoming the national model for interagency-community collaboration. We want to empower our agency to meet the needs of communities within the District of Maryland and across the United States.”
Over the course of 90 days, the interagency partnership collected/donated over 10,000 pounds of sustenance, over $8,000 worth of clothing, and more than $7,000 worth of toys to help improve the lives of citizens from underserved communities throughout the area of Baltimore.
As part of the joint problem-solving initiative, the interagency-community partnership reviewed public safety concerns facing local citizens. Working in partnership with the Baltimore Police Department and other local officials, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force launched Operation Ignite the Light to serve as an enforcement component of Operation Bless Baltimore. During the final two weeks of the 90-day operation, the U.S. Marshals Service and law enforcement partners addressed threats to the community by apprehending 68 violent offenders, recovering three firearms, and seizing dangerous drugs to include heroin and cocaine.
“Through coordination and partnership, thousands of pounds of food, clothing, and toys have been collected for Marylanders in need and 68 violent offenders have been arrested,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron. “Law enforcement will continue to support the community, while we also hold accountable those who commit violent crime.”
Operation Ignite the Light was conducted in support of Operation Bless Baltimore. Participants of the two-week enforcement initiative include: Annapolis Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, ATF, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick Police Department, Howard County Police Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Service, Division of Parole & Probation, Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, and Westminster Police Department.
Please contact Deputy U.S. Marshal Albert Maresca Jr. – Silver Shield Coordinator with any questions regarding the operation.