Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published November 21, 2013





ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 21, 2013) -- Governor Martin O'Malley today hosted Maryland's Better Choices, Better Results forum on public safety and homeland security. This was the fourth in a series of sessions designed to foster an ongoing, collaborative dialogue on establishing a stronger middle class and safer neighborhoods across the state of Maryland. More than 200 stakeholders joined the Governor, cabinet officials, members of law enforcement and other policy experts to discuss the significant progress made under the O'Malley-Brown Administration's strategic goals.

“There are many facets of security-- security of our homeland, security of our neighborhoods, security of our homes,” said Governor O’Malley. “Together, with elected officials, law enforcement and policy professionals at every level of government, we’re working every day to strengthen security and make better choices to get better results for Maryland families.”

The forum highlighted several key initiatives in achieving the governor's strategic goals in the areas of public safety and homeland security. Currently, the state ison track to meet the goals of reducing violent crime and cutting the number of violent incidents against women and children by 2018, and better coordination on homeland security efforts by 2016.

The Safe Streets initiative brings together law enforcement and other local agencies across the state to stabilize neighborhoods, remove offenders, and make our communities better places to live, work, and raise a family. In Annapolis and Salisbury, it has led to double-digit reductions in violent crime.

The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) closely monitors more than 2,600 of the state's most violent offenders using GPS technology. If those individuals offend again, they are quickly apprehended by police and community supervision agents from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and again put behind bars.

Through the Criminal Justice Dashboard (CJD), police officers and investigators across Maryland have, literally at their fingertips, the content of approximately 100 databases covering a variety of crimes. The dashboard allows law enforcement instant, real-time access to information essential to apprehending criminals and saving lives. The License Plate Recognition (LPR) system allows law enforcement officers to find stolen vehicles with remarkable speed and track vehicles used in crimes as the drivers try to elude law enforcement.  Pawn shops and precious metals dealers across the state are linked to law enforcement through the Regional Automated Property Identification System (RAPID). If a thief tries to pawn stolen property, police are notified. The material can be returned to its rightful owner, and  investigators can track down the suspect.  

“Improving public safety and reducing the number of people impacted by crime in Prince George’s County is a top priority for my administration.  Our success over the last few years is due to the collaborative environment we have created in the County across all agencies and departments as well as the support we have received from the O’Malley-Brown administration,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “I want to thank Governor O’Malley and his public safety officials for investing in Prince George’s County to improve public safety and other key areas that will enhance the quality of life for our citizens. We have worked diligently to reduce overall crime to its lowest levels in over 30 years, and we have maintained this low number for the last two years. This is a major achievement for the County and the State.”

Maryland has also received national recognition for its emergency preparedness efforts.  In 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Trust for America's Health report ranked Maryland in the top category for states best prepared to respond to an emergency. However, public safety officials continue to work toward meeting the state’s new 12 core homeland security competencies to better protect the state by land, air, sea and in cyberspace.

These efforts include new coordination on the front lines of an emergency. The Maryland FiRST, Maryland First Responders Interoperable Radio System Team, state-of-the-art, P-25 compliant 700 MHz radio communications system allows state and local first responders in every county in Maryland to have seamless radio interoperability with one another using a single radio which they carry to work daily. Phase II of this system, serving the Eastern Shore, is nearing completion and will complement the area in which coverage is already provided along the northern I-95 corridor.  In addition, Governor O'Malley and members of Maryland's congressional delegation played an instrumental role in the advocacy that led to Congress' establishment of FirstNet, the first nationwide public safety broadband network that will help the nation achieve interoperable communications capability.

Maryland has also taken real steps to ensure the public’s safety in the event of a large-scale disaster. Its first-ever common operating platform (COP) provides real-time data on emergencies to the public and first responders using an online map while integrating different data and technology feeds such as video from the State's Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera network. During the peak of SuperStorm Sandy, more than 264,000 Maryland residents and visitors logged onto OSPREY to find information on power outages, emergency shelters, and flood zones.

This progress would not be possible without the cooperation and support of federal law enforcement agencies and the efforts of the Maryland congressional delegation.

“I’m so proud of the O’Malley-Brown administration for fighting to improve community safety,” U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee who puts funds in the federal checkbook for the Department of Justice, said. “Our first responders are the first lines of defense against everything from blizzards to terrorist attacks. Every day when they report for duty, they don’t know what they will face. That’s why I fight every year for federal funding to pay for the equipment, training and staffing our first responders need to stay safe while protecting our communities.  That’s why Maryland’s progress on coordinated communication is so important because in an emergency, our first responders need to talk to each other and shouldn’t have to resort to different radios or crossed signals.”

“We have made real progress in increasing awareness and reducing incidents of domestic violence through a strong partnership of federal and state resources,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “I strongly supported the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that was enacted by Congress.  I will continue to work alongside Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown to encourage greater collaboration among law enforcement, judicial personnel, and public and private service providers to support and protect victims of domestic violence. No one should fear for their safety in their own home or neighborhood.”

“I’m pleased Governor O’Malley visited Adelphi today to discuss public safety and security in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “Thanks to the better choices made by the O’Malley-Brown Administration, we have seen an historic reduction in crime in Prince George’s County and in communities across the state. While there is still more work to be done to eliminate crime and violence, coordinated efforts at the federal, state, and local levels have resulted in a safer and more secure Maryland.”

Overall, through the effective use of several collaborative initiatives, violent crime has dropped across Maryland by 26% since 2006. This includes statewide reductions in homicides, assaults, rape and robbery.  The value this technology is amplified by information-sharingintra-State with local jurisdictions, and interstate with Maryland's neighbors in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.