Senate Workgroup Releases COVID-19 Report and Recommendations for State and Local Criminal Justice System

The report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee workgroup on the Courts and Criminal Justice System During the COVID-19 Pandemic included 19 recommendations for improvement.  The report looks at the actions taken by the courts and other criminal justice stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic so far and provides recommendations to improve or expand upon those actions as the pandemic and reopening efforts continue. Maryland Matters reports: “COVID-19 has prompted a reckoning with Maryland’s need to…

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Marshall Project Tracks COVID-19 Cases in State and Federal Prisons

The database allows tracking of testing, cases, and deaths federally and on a state-by-state basis.   The Marshall Project in partnership with the Associated Press has been collecting and updating this data since March of this year. From The Marshall Project: By Aug. 4, at least 86,639 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 10 percent increase from the week before. New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high this week after slowing down…

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Baltimore Magazine Highlights Half-Way Point of City’s Surveillance Plane Pilot Program

After three months, the controversial Baltimore City Police Department Aerial Investigation Research Pilot Program has two planes in the sky (and a third on the way) that have logged over 700 hours of surveillance footage aiding in the arrest of one individual.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, in April the Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved a Baltimore City Police Department contract for a six-month pilot of a surveillance plane that would take pictures…

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Montgomery Mulls Removing Police from Traffic Enforcement

Council Member has called for a study to determine whether traffic enforcement responsibilities can be shifted from the police department to other county agencies. The effort, spearheaded by Council Member Hans Reimer, follows a recent report by the Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight finding racial disparities in police enforcement and nationwide discussions on the scope of law enforcement accountability and responsibility. The Washington Post reports: Montgomery appears to be the only jurisdiction in the…

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Baltimore County Launches Interactive Crime Data Dashboard

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today unveiled a new interactive data dashboard, where residents can access detailed information about crime statistics. The dashboard is the County's latest effort to increase transparency and accountability. "Residents deserve to know exactly what's happening in their communities, as this dashboard shines a light on crime activity in Baltimore County," Olszewski said. "We're pleased that the dashboard shows that crime is decreasing in Baltimore County, and that Baltimore County remains…

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Advocates, Public Provide Input to House Police Reform Workgroup

The House Police Reform and Accountability Workgroup heard testimony from public interest advocates and members of the public on a variety of police reform topics and experiences.  The panel of public interest advocates included presentations by Willie Flowers President of the Maryland State Conference NAACP; Kristina Roth, Senior Advocate in the Criminal Justice Program of Amnesty International USA; Monisha Cherayil an attorney from the Public Justice Center; David Rocah, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil…

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Cardin, Van Hollen: Feds Must Boost Support for First Responders on Front Lines of Pandemic

Amid unprecedented revenue shortfalls, first responders need federal funds to continue providing essential services, emergency preparedness. As Congress continues to negotiate the next federal COVID-19 relief package, Maryland U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin yesterday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to boost funding and provide more flexibility for local firefighter departments through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants and Assistance to Firefighter Grants…

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Montgomery Expands Staff, Increases Reach of Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team

Montgomery adds six new positions to the county's mobile crisis team which is on call 24/7 to respond to mental health crisis calls.  The Montgomery County Council recently approved $600,000 in funding that will be used to add six new staff members to respond to crisis calls. These social workers will be spread around the county to increase the team's reach. The team responds to calls involving mental health issues in place of or in…

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Anne Arundel Names Interim Police Chief

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman yesterday announced that Deputy Chief William Lowry will assume the duties of Interim Police Chief on August 1. Chief Timothy J. Altomare announced his retirement, effective August 1, last week. Deputy Chief Lowry has 47 years of public safety experience. He first served in the Anne Arundel County Police Department as Assistant Chief to former Police Chief Kevin Davis in 2013. Deputy Chief Lowry left Anne Arundel County in…

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Baltimore and Harford Join Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network

The Baltimore County Police Department and the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office will lead the newest coalition members of the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network.  The Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN) is a criminal justice strategy where law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels collaborate to target and dismantle criminal networks and their drugs, firearms, and human trafficking operations. From a Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services press release: The MCIN…

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