Introducing Our Celebratory Blog Series: Showcasing the Remarkable Achievements of Maryland’s Award-Winning Counties!
Join us on an exciting journey as we embark on a special blog series dedicated to honoring the exceptional accomplishments of the counties that triumphed in the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2023 Achievement Awards. Each week, we will shine a well-deserved spotlight on a few remarkable counties, delving into their accomplishments, innovative initiatives, and the profound impact they have had on their communities. Let’s dive in!
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Montgomery County – Holiday Coaster Campaign
During the 2022 holiday season, Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) partnered with local businesses to curb alcohol-impaired driving. ABS distributed beverage coasters that featured a QR code directing patrons to an online list of alternative rides to get home safely when drinking. Imprinted with the phrase “Had one too many? Scan for a Safe Ride Home,” the coasters were distributed free of charge to bars and restaurants. The goal was to provide an easily accessible list of alternative rides to patrons and deter them from driving after they have been drinking.
Montgomery County – Violent Crimes Information Center
Montgomery County established a Violent Crime Information Center (VCIC). This center serves as a real-time crime analysis center and provides an investigative support function to officers on the street. This center uses data, technologies, and analysis to provide information to direct law enforcement responses. They also assist with investigative support to provide Detectives with real-time information about crime scenes, crime victims, and suspects.
Howard County – Waterloo Fire Station
The Department of Public Works recently completed the design and construction of the new Waterloo Fire Station. This state-of-the-art facility was built to meet the demands of a modern firefighting force and enhance community safety. In addition, the LEED Gold-certified building was designed better to meet the needs and well-being of the fire personnel. The Waterloo Fire Station has three apparatus bays, efficient office space for operations, individualized sleeping areas, shared locker space with private bathrooms for all firefighters, a covered patio, a gym, and a living/ dining area with a kitchen for communal meals. An innovative gear locker system with built-in exhaust was implemented to ensure maximum sanitation and safety. To strengthen community service, the fire station also incorporates a satellite police suite, fostering synergy between the fire department and law enforcement for a more effective and coordinated response to local needs. The Waterloo Fire Station represents a significant achievement in public safety infrastructure and interdepartmental collaboration. Its advanced design and features contribute to the improved health, safety, and efficiency of both firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
Howard County – Youth Fire Prevention and Intervention Program
Youth are responsible for a significant proportion of accidental and intentional fires occurring each year in Howard County and throughout the United States. Our new Youth Fire Prevention and Intervention Program, coordinated by the Howard County Office of the Fire Marshal, focuses on intervention and education designed to prevent and control youth fire-setting behavior. This is accomplished through the assistance of participating agencies to refer, assess and ultimately educate the youth and their families. This method leads to the reduction of intentionally set fires that pose a threat to the public’s safety and property. The program was developed by contacting other jurisdictions around the United States, attending seminars, and networking with many professionals. We are currently only one of two functioning Youth Fire programs in the state, the other being in Hagerstown, so our program receives children from several surrounding jurisdictions. The program went online in September of 2020 and has to date interacted with 17 yout, none of which have had to return for repeat activity.
Together, let’s explore the remarkable stories behind these award-winning counties and draw inspiration from their passion, creativity, and commitment to making a positive difference. View all 2023 NACo Achievement Award winners through their interactive and searchable map. View our full series of 2023 Maryland Award Winners.