Feds Award Washington County $8M to Hire More Firefighters

Washington County today announced that its Division of Emergency Services has been awarded an $8,080,776 grant to pay for 33 additional career firefighter positions, which will reduce response times and enhance firefighter and public safety throughout the County. The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. "On behalf of the entire Board of County Commissioners for Washington County, MD, I extend our sincere…

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NCSL Presents National Overview to Law Enforcement Body Camera Task Force

A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) briefed the task force on body camera legislation passed across the nation since May 2020. Amanda Widgery, Senior Policy Specialist at NCSL, provided the task force an overview on police body camera legislation that has recently been passed in states across the U.S. Additionally, she shared insight into what role states play in assisting departments with storage; establishing security measures to protect data and enable…

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Baltimore County Council Introduces “SMART” Police Reform Bill

Baltimore County Council Member Julian Jones has introduced the Strengthening Modernization, Accountability, Reform, and Transparency (SMART) Policing Act with the support of County Executive Johnny Olszewski after reaching a compromise with fellow county officials.  The SMART act contains many of the provisions from the bill Council Member Jones had introduced earlier this summer. However, through compromise, it removes some more controversial parts that led to the original bill being tabled and codifies some provisions in…

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Montgomery Task Force Begins Work Evaluating Police Department

Eighty member task force to study and make recommendations on Montgomery County police operations.  The task force, which met for the first time this week, intends to provide recommendations for change by early next year. WJZ reports: The 80-member task force began evaluating the Montgomery County Police Department this week, according to the county. The group will make recommendations on policy reforms and changes to the department by the beginning of next year. Members include…

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Law Enforcement Briefs House Police Reform and Accountability Workgroup

The workgroup heard testimony from Maryland Chiefs and Sheriffs Associations, Fraternal Order of Police, Department of State Police, Maryland Troopers Association, and State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance.  Over the course of five hours, the presentations before the House Police Reform and Accountability comprehensively covered law enforcement perspectives and expertise on a range of issues including the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR); Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA); use of force policies; police body-worn…

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FAA Announces Drone Line-of-Sight Waiver for Public Safety Agencies

Public safety agencies that operate drones can now apply for a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In the past, public safety agencies have always had to maintain a visual line of sight when operating unmanned aircraft (UAS). Recognizing the need to support public UAS operators acting in an active first responder capacity, the FAA last week announced the “First Responder Tactical Beyond Visual Line of Sight” (TBVLOS)…

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Pandemic Presents Former Inmates with New Barriers to Re-entry

Individuals recently released from jails face limited reentry programs and loss of job opportunities as the pandemic rages on. The coronavirus pandemic has millions of Americans without a job. Formerly incarcerated individuals are facing particular employment challenges as the lack of jobs also impacts their ability to meet probation requirements or pay required fees. From Governing: The crisis has halted some reentry programs entirely, limited the resources available to their clients or forced them to…

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Queen Anne’s Earns American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Award

The Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services (DES) this week received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline®EMS Gold Award. The County earned the award — which recognizes the implementation of quality improvement measures for the treatment of heart attack patients — for the third year in a row. The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training, and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s…

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Maryland Launches Statewide Text-to-911 Service

Effective Thursday, August 20, 9-1-1 call centers across Maryland will begin accepting text messages via text-to-911 service. Customers of the three major wireless carriers (AT&T, former Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) who are enrolled in their carriers’ text messaging and/or data plan can send text messages to 9-1-1 in an emergency when they are unable to place a phone call. Text-to-911 is intended for use in three scenarios: For individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have…

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Leaders, Advocates Seek to Seize Moment for Police Reform

Elected leaders and criminal justice advocates prepare for fall hearings and subsequent 2021 police reform and accountability legislative packages.  For Senator Will Smith, Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and for many many advocates the lack of progress on police reform over the past years has come down to  "well-defined" police issues with little "political will." But supporters of reform believe this is a ripe time to generate impactful reform. The Baltimore Sun reports…

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