LANDOVER – Prince George's County police officers have begun to work 12-hour shifts as of July 11, an increase from their 8/10-hour shifts, to help battle a spike in crime that has taken place in the county over the last two weeks.
Since July 2, the county has experienced 10 homicides that have resulted in 12 people being killed, including a homicide in Greenbelt that does not technically count against the county statistics.
The last time the county experienced such a high rate of homicides in a short period of time was in January 2011 when 13 homicides occurred in 12 days.
At a press conference held Tuesday night at police headquarters in Landover, Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinsk said the violence in the county needs to stop now.
“A number of the homicides that have occurred in the county were a result of disputes between two people that have led to someone being killed. That’s unacceptable,” he said.
This year’s homicide count stood at 50 as of midday Tuesday.
“This is my home and it troubles me when we have these events, but more troubling than that is the frequency with which these disputes are devolving into violence,” Stawinski added.
Police officials are not sure how much the overtime will cost the county, but they have the full support from county leadership.
Sixteen of the 50 homicides that have occurred in the county have taken place in the Capitol Heights, Suitland, Oxon Hill and District Heights areas of the county.
“County Executive Baker has the utmost confidence in Chief Stawinski’s approach to stem the recent spate of violence in the county,” said Scott Peterson, spokesperson for County Executive Rushern Baker, III.
Stawinski said this not the first time officers have worked 12-hour shift, as they have worked 12-hour shifts during inclement weather such as snow and rain emergencies. He also said he does not have a date when the 12-hour shifts will end, but is confident the increased police presence will bring stability in the community and reduce the likelihood of more crime.
“I’m confident that this will make a difference,” Stawinski said.