Rolley would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana
Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley said he would seek to reduce the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, create a dollar tax on bullets and increase funding for youth recreation and jobs, as part of his plan to fight crime.
Rolley, who is slated to unveil his public safety platform Tuesday, said the city needs a "multi-faceted approach" to cutting cutting.
Rolley said he would increase police hiring and fitness standards and bolster police training, but not increase the size of the force.
"We don't need more cops. We need screened, well-trained, reasonably-compensated police," he said, adding that standards much be increased to prevent some more police department scandals.
Rolley said he would push for state legislation to make carrying a small quantity of marijuana a summary offense -- subject to a citation and fine, but no jail time. Philadelphia and Seattle have similar policies, he said.
"It takes a lot of the burden off of the court system," he said.
"I'm not trying to turn this into Hamsterdam," said Rolley, referring to a neighborhood on The Wire where drugs were legalized. "But I think we can all admit the war on drugs isn't working."
Rolley also plans to lobby state lawmakers to allow the city to impose a one dollar tax on bullets, which he hopes would ultimately lead to a reduction in gun crime.
He said he supports the police department's current approach of targeting the worst offenders and high-level drug dealers, a policy put in place during Sheila Dixon's administration and continued under the tenure of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Rolley says he plans to create incentives for businesses to hire ex-offenders, in an effort to reduce recidivism rates.
Rolley said he hopes to pull churches into the fight against crime, organizing mediation programs, education, recreation and social service program.
"The only thing that outnumbers the liquor stores in the city are the churches," Rolley said.
He says he would pilot a program -- modeled after a similar initiative in Boston -- in two police districts with the highest levels of crime.
The program would cost "a couple of million dollars" to begin with, with additional assistance coming from the churches, Rolley said.
Rolley said he would double funding for after school programs and increase the number of students hired by the city's summer jobs program to 10,000. About 5,000 students are employed this summer, down from a high of 7,000 in 2009.