Running for governor, Gansler draws upon days as prosecutor to issue public-safety plan


Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler released a wide-ranging public safety plan on Thursday that he pledged would end Maryland’s standing as one of the nation’s most violent states, once fully implemented.

Gansler, the state’s attorney general, said his ideas draw upon his 22 years of experience as a prosecutor at various levels and that the $14 million annual cost could be covered by savings that would come from decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Gansler's ideas include having county prosecutors assigned to local communities rather than types of crimes; launching a statewide drug take-back program to curb abuse of leftover prescriptions; and stepped-up efforts to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Gansler would also create a “state land bank” to better manage blight, which he said is often linked with crime. He would enact a “good Samaritan” law that would allow people to seek medical assistance for someone experiencing a heroin overdose, without fear of being prosecuted themselves. And, among other initiatives, he would focus on “re-entry” programs for those leaving prison.

“Throughout my career in law enforcement, I have relied on my experience on the ground to identify, seek out and implement cutting-edge techniques for fighting crime and boosting crime prevention,” Gansler says in the introduction to his plan. “Now I am eager to put my experience to work, as governor, to reshape our state’s approach to fighting crime by empowering communities, victims and law enforcement.”

Gansler faces Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Montgomery) in the June Democratic primary.

The plan that Gansler released Thursday — dubbed “Fighting For You: Safer Communities For All Maryland” — is the latest entry in a growing library of policy proposals from all three Democrats.

All three have also now proposed using savings from reforming marijuana laws to pay for some of their initiatives.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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