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In Pr. George's, Jackson offers plan to combat crime, but no price tag

The five candidates for the Democratic nomination for county executive in Prince George's County are entering the final weeks of their campaigns before the Sept. 14 primary, juggling stops at Metro stations, with evening candidates' forums and door knocking to try to reach thousands of undecided voters. The candidates are former Del. Rushern Baker, County Council member Sam Dean, Sheriff Michael Jackson, Del. Gerron Levi and Henry Turner, a developer and businessman.

Baker and Jackson have tried to meet the media at least once a week. On Tuesday, Baker announced, to no one's surprise, that he was being formally endorsed by departing State's Attorney Glen F. Ivey Jr. And Jackson offered the latest in a series of position papers, this time on crime and how to combat it.

His views, in short: build capacity for mentoring programs, expand domestic violence prevention, cut overall crime by 10 percent, improve communication among law enforcement agencies, step up anti-gang programs, and find ways to get residents to have more trust in local law enforcement. He said he would pay for this through a series of grants and assistance from businesses. There was no price tag.

Jackson also said, responding to a reporter's question, that he'd like to expand the police force to about 2,000, from its current 1,481 officers, although this was not included in his proposal. There are 1,786 slots authorized but many are unfilled. He'd also like to increase the sheriff's department to 400 deputies. All of this costs money, but he said he'd prefer to wait until he gets into office before figuring out how to fund these positions.

"It's about desire more than dollars," he said. He said that in his eight years as sheriff, he had found a way to establish programs to combat domestic violence without breaking the bank.

Jackson's office has come under scrutiny in a domestic violence case recently, in which his staff acknowledged misplacing an arrest warrant. Marcus D. Shipman, 23, who had been sought by the warrant but not served was subsequently arrested on charges of shooting his girlfriend, LaCole Hines, 17, who later died. Jackson also has come under fire by other candidates for having hundreds of unserved warrants.

Delivering warrants is one of the main functions of the sheriff's department in Prince George's, where most law enforcement is handled by the police department. On Tuesday, as part of his campaign packet, he offered data that showed his department has about 17,000 outstanding warrants and had served almost 9,000 as of April. Jackson has said many of the unserved warrants are for what he considers relatively minor infractions, such as parking tickets. In 2009, the office reported receiving 32,119 warrants and served 25,518. Overall, the number of unserved warrants dating to 2002, according to his data, totals about 16,677.

Want to learn more about the candidates? You can see them this week in two upcoming debates: One, sponsored by the Links, a service organization, is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Oxon Hill Middle School, 9570 Fort Foote Rd. The other is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Bowie Senior Center, 14900 Health Center Dr., Bowie, sponsored by the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce.

By Miranda Spivack  |  August 31, 2010; 5:26 PM ET
 | Tags: county executive race prince george's, michael a. jackson prince george's county, sheriff prince george's, warrants prince george's  
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