O'Malley Backs Crime Audit Bill
So when O'Malley showed up in Annapolis yesterday to testify on the legislation that requires a statewide crime audit every three years, some people expected fireworks.
Instead, the mayor endorsed the bill in what turned out to be a low-key hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
"We urge you to pass this bill," O'Malley told panel members.
"Our crime numbers are accurate," said his police commissioner, Leonard Hamm, who sat by his side.
The bill authorizes the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to hire an outside contractor to conduct the audits. O'Malley said he has been consistent in his support of an audit conducted by an impartial source.
Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, O'Malley's opponent in the Democratic primary who has been beating the drum on the crime stats issue, said in a statement that he welcomed O'Malley's support for "a major portion of my plan to reduce crime."
It is unclear whether the bill has any chance of passing with little more than two weeks left in the session. Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, said this week that his panel may not hear the legislation.
If the bill were to pass, any results are not likely to be seen until well after the November election: The bill does not require a report until December 2009.
Adding to the political intrigue surrounding the bill, Del. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) raised questions yesterday about apparent discrepancies between some crime numbers posted on Montgomery County's Web site and those the county has reported to the FBI.
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