State Board Hears Update on School Safety Initiatives

The Maryland State Board of Education yesterday heard an update on school safety initiatives aimed at improving school safety through a variety of statewide standards and guidelines. As previously reported on Conduit StreetSB 1265, Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, passed the General Assembly on the final day of the 2018 legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan.

Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS)

MCSS is made an independent unit within MSDE. The bill transfers some of the center’s existing duties to the subcabinet, and adds the following duties to MCSS’s charge:

  • assist local school systems to identify resources and implement training for students and parents about relationship violence, identifying the signs of unhealthy relationships, and preventing relationship violence;
  • analyze data on SROs and develop guidelines for local school systems regarding the assignment and training of SROs;
  • certify school safety coordinators;
  • consult with local school systems on safety evaluations;
  • review and comment on school emergency plans; and
  • report on life-threatening incidents that occur on public school grounds.
Courtesy of MSDE

The bill establishes a School Safety Subcabinet, which also serves as the governing board for the Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS). The State Superintendent or designee chairs the subcabinet and the Executive Director of MCSS provides staff.

The subcabinet is charged with multiple responsibilities, chief among them (1) collaborating with various stakeholders to provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to school safety; (2) initiating collaborative partnerships and facilitating coordination among stakeholders to leverage existing resources to deliver school safety services uniformly to local school systems; (3) distributing grants from the Safe Schools Fund; and (4) adopting regulations to carry out its responsibilities. The subcabinet must submit an annual report with specified information.

The subcabinet is also given responsibility for making grants for security-related expenses to schools and child care centers at risk of hate crimes under Chapter 732 of 2016; the bill authorizes the Governor to transfer $1.0 million from the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for this purpose.

The School Safety Subcabinet Advisory Board is established and includes a broad array of stakeholders to advise and assist the subcabinet in carrying out its duties. A member of the advisory board may not receive compensation but is entitled to reimbursement of expenses.

Courtesy of MSDE

School Safety and Security Funding Overview

One-Time Funding:

  • $2.5 million in safety assessment grants to be administered by MCSS
  • $10 million in MSDE administered school safety grants
  • $10 million in grants to be administered by the Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) for safety-related operating and capital projects
  • $10 million in school safety improvement grants provided in the capital budget

Permanent Funding:

  • $10 million in mandated funding in FY 2019 and beyond for school resource officers (SROs) and other local law enforcement strategies to provide adequate school coverage. MCSS will provide grants to local school systems and law enforcement agencies to meet the SRO/law enforcement coverage requirements. Grants must be made based on the proportion of public schools in each jurisdiction.
  • Minimum of $2 million for 13 new positions at the Maryland Center for School Safety
Courtesy of MSDE

School Resource Officers

A school resource officer is defined as (1) a law enforcement officer assigned to a school in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between a local law enforcement agency and a local school system or (2) a Baltimore City School Police Officer, as defined in current law. By September 1, 2018, MCSS, in consultation with local school systems, must develop a specialized curriculum to be used in training SROs that addresses specified issues. The curriculum must be submitted to the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (MPTSC) for approval. By March 1, 2019, MCSS must develop and submit to MPTSC for approval a model training program based on the curriculum. Each local law enforcement agency must enroll SROs either in (1) the MCSS model training program or (2) a local training program approved by MPTSC that is consistent with the approved curriculum. All SROs must complete an approved specialized training program by September 1, 2019.

MCSS must collect specified data on SROs and, by December 15, 2018, develop guidelines based on its analysis of the data to assist local school systems in (1) determining the appropriate number and assignment of SROs, including supplemental coverage by local law enforcement agencies and (2) collaborating and communicating with local law enforcement agencies. By July 1, 2019, each local school system must develop a plan in
consultation with local law enforcement to implement the guidelines and submit its plan to MCSS for review and comment.

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, and each school year thereafter, each local school system must file a report with MCSS before the school year begins that demonstrates (1) that each public school has an SRO assigned to the school or (2) if no SRO is assigned to a public school, that adequate local law enforcement coverage will be provided to the school. MCSS must submit annual summaries of the SRO reports it receives to the Governor and General Assembly.

Deadlines: Center & Subcabinet

According to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), it is on track to meet the implementation deadlines outlined in the legislation.

Model Policy for Assessment Teams

By September 1, 2018, the subcabinet must develop a model policy for the establishment of one or more assessment teams in each local school system. The model policy must include specified provisions generally related to (1) the identification of, and intervention with, students or other individuals who may pose a threat to school safety; (2) the composition and appropriate number of assessment teams within local school systems; and (3) training for the assessment teams.

By September 1, 2019, each local school system must adopt a policy for the establishment of assessment teams that is consistent with the model policy. Local policies must include:

  • a process for regular assessment and intervention, including diversion and de-escalation, if an individual exhibits behavior that may pose a threat to school safety;
  • standards for timely response and procedures for coordination among members of the team, including referral of relevant information to appropriate authorities; and
  • standards and procedures for the referral of an individual for evaluation, services, or treatment when appropriate.
Courtesy of MSDE
Courtest of MSDE

Deadlines: School System

School Safety Evaluations and Emergency Plans

Each local school system must designate a school safety coordinator, who must be certified by MCSS and serve as the liaison between the local school system, local law enforcement, and MCSS. By June 15, 2019, and regularly thereafter, each local school system must conduct a safety evaluation of each school to (1) identify and, if necessary, develop solutions for physical safety concerns and (2) identify and evaluate any patterns of safety concerns on school property or at school-sponsored events. In conducting the safety evaluations, each safety coordinator must consult with MCSS, coordinate with IAC, and submit a summary of the completed evaluations to MCSS.

MSDE must update the Emergency Planning Guidelines for Local School Systems by December 1, 2019, to reflect the initial findings from local safety evaluations.

By July 1, 2020, and regularly thereafter, each local school system must update the school emergency plan for each public school. The plans must conform to the MSDE guidelines regarding how the school will address behavioral threats and emergency events. In updating the plans, local school systems must work with MCSS to correct any identified weaknesses.

School safety evaluations, emergency plans, and local law enforcement coverage policies are not subject to inspection under the Maryland Public Information Act, except by designated State agencies, emergency management agencies, and local law enforcement in the performance of their official duties.

Courtesy of MSDE

Mental Health Services 

By September 1, 2018, each local school system must appoint a mental health services coordinator to coordinate existing mental health services and referral procedures within the local school system. Working with specified local entities, the coordinator must (1) ensure that a student who is referred for mental health services obtains the necessary services; (2) maximize external funding for mental health and wraparound services, as defined by the bill; and (3) develop plans for delivering behavioral health and wraparound services to students who exhibit specified behaviors of concern. Grants from the Safe Schools Fund may be used to develop plans for delivering mental health and wraparound services. 

The bill requires the subcabinet to review the local plans for delivering behavioral health and wraparound services (discussed above) and identify gaps in the availability of services and providers for school-age children in the State by December 1, 2018. It also requires the Kirwan Commission to include in its final report (due December 31, 2018) recommendations for additional mental health and wraparound services in local school systems and funding required for those services.

Courtesy of MSDE

Useful Links

MSDE’s presentation to the State Board of Education.

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018: What You Need to Know

Baltimore Council’s Over Police Going Over on Overtime

In a move that will only make financial purists crazed, the Baltimore City Council has voted to reject a budget transfer for $21 million to cover police overtime from the previous fiscal year – money that, of course, has already been spent.

The Baltimore Sun quotes Public Safety Committee Chair Brandon Scott:

This is a clear message that the status quo is not going to work anymore.

Last year the Baltimore Police Department spent $47.2 million on overtime. According to the Sun, $16 million was budgeted. From the coverage:

The committee vote comes as leaders on the City Council have announced monthly accountability meetings about the police department, focusing on both the agency’s budget and its crime-fighting strategies.

The city law department also is auditing the Police Department’s overtime, but has yet to make the results of the audit public.

Read the article here.

See the Baltimore Police FY18 budget information here.

New Course Trains High School Students to Be 9-1-1 Telecommunicators

Students in Anne Arundel County will participate in the country’s first-ever program aimed at training high schoolers to be 9-1-1 telecommunicators. Glen Burnie High School is set to launch the program next year, which will focus on teaching students how to respond to a person calling 9-1-1 in distress and how to operate the technology in today’s 9-1-1 centers.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

Twenty-two applied to take “Police Communications: Entry Level Call Taker Training,” a yearlong elective class that includes classroom instruction, simulations and visits to the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s 911 dispatch center.

The 15 who are selected will learn computer-aided dispatch software; mapping location skills; and laws, policies and procedures for taking, screening and dispatching calls, according to the course description.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department, who proposed the program, hopes the class will help to fill vacancies at its 9-1-1 call centers, as well as 9-1-1 call centers across the state. High stress, training standards, and long hours have led to a nationwide shortage of 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, passed the Senate unanimously on February 20. Its cross-file, House Bill 634, sponsored by Delegate Michael Jackson, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on March 15. Governor Hogan signed the legislation into law on April 24th.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, learn best practices for assessing, planning, and developing maintenance routines to keep Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data NG911 compliant at a session entitled, “Calibrating the Compass: GIS in a Next Gen 9-1-1 World,” on Thursday, August 16, from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm.

MACo’s 2018 Summer Conference will be held Aug. 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, MD.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Different, Better, Faster, More…Do UAS Taking Flight in Maryland Demand Changes to Law?

A Work Group reviews the types and applications of UAS (commonly called drones) in Maryland while considering any needed changes to State law for the technology and its use by members of the public.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Work Group met this week at the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, hearing two presentations. The first presentation was from Rodney Likin, Special Operations with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Rodney shared a detailed and gripping account of the interception of a plat to fly contraband into a maximum security prison in Western Maryland via drone.

This large unmanned aerial system (UAS) can fly at speeds of up to 80 mph.

The second presentation was by Detective Charles Russell, Prince George’s County Police Department, who showed and described to the UAS Work Group a range of unmanned aerial systems (commonly called drones) and their capabilities.

The UAS Work Group saw UAS of various shapes, sizes, and capabilities at its recent meeting.

The Work Group, which includes MACo and county representation, must produce a report for the Governor and General Assembly on revisions to law needed to confront expanding use of UAS.

At this meeting and in previous meetings, the Work Group discussed:

  • Law Enforcement education needed to help in identifying and reporting incidents of misuse of unmanned aerial systems (UAS)
  • State and local coordination with the FAA and the limitations of federal and state enforcement capabilities
  • Whether there may be changes needed to definitions of trespass or nuisance to accommodate UAS
  • Whether there may be a need to protect those who stop UAS intruding on their property from liability for costs of damages to the UAS
  • Whether to change definitions of critical infrastructure in State code, and consider the applicability of FAA regulations to all critical infrastructure in Maryland, and to maintain local authority over the definition of critical infrastructure.
  • Recent legislation passed in Virginia on UAS

For more information, see MACo Explores Government Applications for DronesIncidents of Unsafe Use of Drones Will Shape Report & Recommendations.

Counties Gather Answers for the Call for Next Generation 9-1-1 Service

County budget and public safety representatives assemble this week to determine data and information to support the work of the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland, which will report in December.

MACo called a work group this week of County Public Safety Answering Point Directors, Emergency Services Directors, and County Budget and Procurement experts and a Public Safety Communications Specialist to begin assembling information to support the work of the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland. The Commission will be appointed this year and it first report will be due in December, 2018.

The Commission’s December report must cover seven subjects, the first of which, is the needs, both capital and operating, to bring efficient and effective Next Generation 9–1–1 technology and service across Maryland, and estimated costs required to effect this priority outcome. This first item was the subject of discussion yesterday.

The group identified existing information on capital and operating needs, and delved into the difficult topic of identifying future personnel needs that will be associated with a transition to new technology, and with providing enhanced services to the public.

The ability of Emergency Communications Specialists to access more accurate call location information more quickly, and to employ new data gathering techniques, such as receiving text and video data from those who contact 9-1-1 is the aim of Counties governments who are eager and committed to making Maryland a leader in implementation of Next Generation.

Steve Souder, a nationally recognized authority on 9-1-1, participated in the meeting of counties this week. Souder is representative of the Association of Public–Safety Communications Officials International Mid–Eastern Chapter, member of Maryland’s Emergency Number Systems Board, and the former Public Safety Communications Director of Fairfax, Virginia. According to Souder, the establishment of the statewide Commission will place Maryland ahead of other States in its work toward a coordinated transition of all counties to Next Generation 9-1-1.

Green is the New Black

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference learn how correctional training and environmental programs intersect to build marketable job skills and improve communities in the process.

Title: Green is the New Black

Description: Local jails operate numerous programs where inmates can receive training along with marketable skills that are geared toward improving the ecology, quality, and beauty of the state’s waterways and surrounding communities. Rain gardening and landscaping, water retention pond maintenance, and oyster habitat restoration are just a few of the programs that connect environmental protection and job training. In this session, learn more about how these programs are a success for the individual inmates as well as the communities that benefit from their newly acquired skills.


  • Robert Green, Director, Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Marsha Bailey, Director of Re-Entry and Transition Services, DPSCS
  • Lori Lilly, Director, Howard EcoWorks

Moderator: The Honorable Charles Sydnor, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Friday, August 17, 2018; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

The 2018 MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Keeping Cars Off the Boards Ain’t Cheap

Safety comes at a price. Unfortunately, Ocean City’s came in four times over budget.

In an effort to protect vehicular attacks on pedestrians on the boardwalk, the town looked into closing off all access points. Originally estimated to cost about $1 million, the plan is now estimated at more than $4.26 million. The town is looking at ways to reduce the cost without undermining utility.

Delmarvanow covers the story:

The project was originally proposed last fall after multiple deliberate attacks on pedestrians involving vehicles occurred in cities across the United States and abroad. In the last four years, at least 15 such attacks have happened around the world, according to USA Today.

Review the Fiscal 2019 Capital Budget for Projects in Your County

The Summary of the FY 2019 Capital Budget as Enacted produced by the Department of Legislative Service provides accessibility to the details of the State’s capital funding.

State agencies receive funding though the State’s capital budget, and their funding is sometimes specifically allocated to projects or operations in particular counties. County governments also received capital funding from the State for specific projects.

The Summary of the FY 2019 Capital Budget as Enacted is easier to read than other documents associated with the capital budget, and may be searched for a particular county or type of project.

The need for school construction funding to keep pace with education requirements and the need for resources for local jails and detention centers struggling with the opioid epidemic are two focus areas for Maryland’s counties focus.

The FY 2019 capital budget provides line-by-line detail of $7.3 million capital funding for local jails and detention centers and $313.9 million in capital funding for the Public School Construction Program, in addition to other public school construction grants.

Screenshot 2018-07-06 09.22.14
This excerpt from the Summary of the FY 2019 Capital Budget as Enacted shows a breakdown of capital funding for local jails and the beginning of the list of state school construction funding.

For more, see the Summary of the FY 2019 Capital Budget as Enacted.

State Revs Up Corrections Recruitment Efforts

Acknowledging a years-long problem with understaffing at state correctional facilities, the State Division of Corrections plans to step up its recruitment efforts.

The Division continues to hold job fairs and testing all around the state, and most recently announced that it plans to hire a private recruiting firm to fill vacancies.

Herald-Mail highlights frustration from unions, correctional officers, and state elected officials relating to the staffing shortage:

“I don’t understand why we’re having this conversation for three years in a row,” Patrick Moran, president of Council 3 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told Herald-Mail Media on Thursday. …

“What I’m getting is there’s frustration from the correctional officers with the administration and the union,” Del. Mike McKay, R-Washington/Allegany, said. “They feel their concerns are not getting to where they need to go.

“The staffing shortage is unacceptable,” he added.

Last session, the General Assembly included a number of provisions in the budget related to Corrections’ understaffing.

Grant Alert! GOCCP Releases NOFA for Pretrial Services

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) has released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Pretrial Services Program Grant (PSPG):


The purpose of this program is to assist counties in the development, implementation, and improvement of pretrial services programs that reduce the size and cost of pretrial detention populations on the county level, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety outcomes, specifically the safety of victims and witnesses. Additionally the program establishes a consistent standard of best practices across all grant funded pretrial release services.


House Bill 447 of Maryland’s 2018 Legislative Session established the Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund. Chapter 771 was approved by the governor on May 15, 2018.

Funded Categories

Contractual services, equipment, operating expenses, other, and personnel

Eligible Entities

County government agencies, local courts, local detention centers


FY 2019 PSPG Application Guidance Kit

Online submission deadline: July 17, 2018 at 3 pm. 

For more information visit the GOCCP PSPG webpage or contact:

Quentin Jones
Program Manager
Phone: 410-697-9318


Justice Schisler
Chief of Programs
Phone: 410-697-9334