MACo: Local Jurisdictions Should Be Entrusted with Testing Public Safety Measures

On March 9, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support HB 1045 – Public Safety – Safe Neighborhoods Pilot Program of with amendments.

This bill establishes the eponymous Safe Neighborhoods Pilot Program to provide doorbell cameras or other security systems to residents in high-crime areas, and requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to conduct a study on the Program’s long-term viability. While counties appreciate this demonstration of the State’s investment in bolstering public safety, some jurisdictions already have similar programs in place. Counties suggest a more localized means of implementation to retain the role of local law enforcement agencies in overseeing existing programs, and to ensure that these existing programs are not totally scraped in favor of the State’s model.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties recognize the value of working in collaboration with residents to ensure the safety and habitability of communities through programs like the pilot this bill seeks to establish. Fortunately, counties have established their own programs that offer doorbell cameras and security systems to individuals who participate. As this process is well underway, and the local law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction over crimes in their communities and subsequent investigations, it stands to reason that funding to enhance and establish these programs should be in the hands of the teams taking the initiative locally. While counties applaud the State’s interest in these programs, the MACo amendment to this bill would be to allow local jurisdictions to apply for and receive funds directly for both existing and new programs.

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