Annapolis, MD (ANN) – Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an executive order Friday creating a new task force to address gun violence in the county. The task force is charged with researching and compiling data on crimes and suicide involving guns and recommending actions to help reduce gun violence.
Pittman announced Bishop Charles Carroll as the chair of the task force. Bishop Carroll lost his son Charles to gun violence in 2016, during a deadly stretch in which 13 people were killed in Annapolis between January 2016 and January 2017.
“I lost my oldest son Charles E. Carroll Jr. to gun violence in the deadliest year in the recorded history of the City of Annapolis,” said Bishop Carroll. “Like others who have tragically lost their loved ones to gun violence, I want the killing to stop. My sincere desire is that this task force will serve the needs of Anne Arundel County by helping to stop the gun violence that too often plagues our communities.”
Andrea Chamblee and Maria Hiaasen will serve as vice chairs. Ms. Chamblee and Ms. Hiaasen are the widows of John McNamara and Rob Hiaasen, respectively, who were killed along with Wendi Winters, Gerald Fishman and Rebecca Smith in the shooting at the office of the Capital Gazette on June 28, 2018.
“As a reporter, John often put his trust in the officials and people of Anne Arundel County,” said Andrea Chamblee. “I am grateful for the chance to participate in this task force on his behalf. I hope the work of this group will make the people of the county safer while protecting their rights.”
“No community is guaranteed immunity from this scourge,” said Maria Hiaasen. “Gun violence is – plain and simple – an insidious public health problem, one that we can mitigate if we systematically gather data, investigate practical solutions, and engage respectfully with a variety of stakeholders. As my family copes with the loss of my husband in the Capital Gazette shootings last summer, I’m hopeful and proud to be a part of the county’s sincere effort to find practical solutions.”
The task force consists of twenty appointed citizen members representing a broad spectrum of experience and expertise in public safety, emergency operations, behavioral health and community outreach. The task force also includes sixteen local government officials acting as ex-officio members. Addressing gun violence has been a priority for Pittman, and he committed to creating a task force during his campaign for office. Jennifer Purcell, Pittman’s chief of staff, will represent the County Executive on the task force.
The task force’s first meeting is being planned by the end of April, and it will meet monthly through April of next year. The executive order requests a preliminary report from the task force by December 15 summarizing its progress and any initial findings and recommendations.
Citizen members include:
Bishop Charles Carroll, Chair
Andrea Chamblee, Vice Chair
Maria Hiaasen, Vice Chair
Jamie Benoit, former County Councilmember, District 4 (2006 – 2014)
Dawn Stoltzfus, communications professional and member of Moms Demand Action
Victoria Bayless, President & CEO, Anne Arundel Medical Center
Sue Ward, Vice President for Operations, Baltimore Washington Medical Center
Mackenzie Boughey, Anne Arundel County student; March for Our Lives organizer
Bob Bates, former member, Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence
Jennifer Sowers, Director of the Anne Arundel County Parent Coalition
Elizabeth Ruddy, Anne Arundel County Public Schools teacher
Iris Krasnow, author and columnist at The Capital
Sergeant James Spearman, retired Annapolis Police officer, member of the Caucus of African-American Leaders
Jackie Allsup, Anne Arundel County NAACP
Alba Reyes, Hispanic community leader
Elizabeth Banach, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence
Two members appointed by the County Council, to be submitted by Council Resolution.
Jennifer Purcell, Chief of Staff, County Executive Steuart Pittman
Anne Leitess, Anne Arundel County States Attorney
Jim Fredericks, Anne Arundel County Sheriff (Designee to be named)
Billie Penley, Health Officer (acting)
Adrienne Mickler, Executive Director of the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency, Inc.
Tim Altomare, Chief of Police
Peter Smith, Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison
Kevin Aftung, Director of the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management
Kevin Simmons, Director of the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Annapolis
Greg Swain, County Attorney
Tricia Wolford, Fire Chief
Sandra Bartlett, Delegate, District 32
Pamela Beidle, Senator Senator, District 32
Allison Pickard, County Councilwoman, District 2
County Councilmember, Republican (Requested)
Shaneka Henson, Annapolis Alderwoman, District 6
Melissa Ellis, Member, Board of Education, District 4