Prince George's County residents are pushing the County Council to restore funds to the police department, as locals learned that just one detective is dedicated to solving more than 1,300 cold cases dating back to 1980.
Residents gathered on Monday to thank the Prince George's County Police Department and demand that the Council give police the resources they need.
"They need to restore the budget. They need to increase the budget," Michael Seaton said.
For he and his wife, Gale, the restoration of nearly $9 million withheld from the police department's budget is personal. Their daughter Stacy was murdered in Bowie in 2005 and the crime went unsolved for years, they said. They believe a lack of officers working on unsolved murder cases delayed the case.
"While we have more tools and technology available, you can’t do anything without the human resources," Gale Seaton said.
PGPD has one detective who works only on cold cases, a department spokesman said.
"[That detective] is answering the phone and running down leads, and it's a one-person show," Gale Seaton said.
All county departments were required in May to put 2 percent of their budgets in a rainy day fund to help with the county's budget deficit. Demonstrators who gathered on Monday said the police department should have been exempt from the requirement.
Solving crimes gives residents peace of mind, Roberta Roper said. Her daughter was murdered in 1982.
"It’s hard to explain the consequences that they live with, the open wounds and their lack of resolution," she said.
The County Council is expected to write a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker on Tuesday asking him to amend the budget and allocate enough funds for the PGPD to train a new class of recruits.