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Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, National HIDTA Director Michael Gottlieb, and Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Director Thomas H. Carr enjoyed a beautiful autumn day as they launched the Badges for Baseball Program in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Badges for Baseball program aims to reshape and improve the relationship between law enforcement and youth from high-crime areas. Police volunteers help youth refine and improve their baseball skills while also mentoring the young participants and providing positive role models. Badges for Baseball seeks to build a safe and positive environment in which young people have fun, build character, and learn to make good decisions both on and off the field.
Congressman Cummings, who represents the 7th Congressional District in Maryland, referred to the multi-purpose field where the event took place as Baltimore’s “Field of Dreams.” More than 50 young people from Baltimore are expected to participate in the ongoing initiative.
Badges for Baseball is funded in part by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is a non-profit working with underprivileged youth throughout the United States through baseball and softball programming. The Washington-Baltimore HIDTA is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.
HIDTAs have recently placed an increased emphasis on prevention programs like Badges for Baseball. Since 2008, the number of HIDTAs implementing prevention initiatives has increased from four to 20, including all five Southwest Border HIDTA regions. This expansion of prevention initiatives illustrates ONDCP’s commitment to further integrate the law enforcement and prevention communities.