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Cool Ashes are Cool

With grilling season in full swing, Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS/Dept. of Environmental Protection) and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) are issuing reminders and tips about the importance of safely disposing of the ash generated when using outdoor grills.

Residents are reminded never to put out ashes from outdoor barbecues (and fireplaces) for collection with the regular household trash unless the ashes have been thoroughly soaked with water or held for at least a week to ensure there are no residual embers. Residents may bring cooled ashes to the Solid Waste Transfer Station for disposal in specifically-designated ash containers.

The Transfer Station is located at 16101 Frederick Rd., Derwood (off Rt. 355 at Shady Grove Rd.). If delivering ash by car, residents are asked to use the Frederick Rd. (Rt. 355) entrance just south of Shady Grove Rd. The Transfer Station's Public Unloading Facility (PUF) -- also called the "Car Ramp" -- has several steel drums marked specifically for ash disposal. The drums are located between trash drop-off bays. DSWS staff verifies that the ash has cooled off before taking it to the rubble drop-off area for disposal.

If delivering ash by truck, residents should use the Shady Grove Rd. entrance and speak to the scale house staff for further instructions.

Get more information and read tips from MCFRS.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

Summertime Safety for all Ages: In and Near the Water

In response to two near-drownings over the Memorial Day weekend, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue (MCFR) officials are urging residents to take proper precautions around the water and to keep a close eye on children when they are near any water sources. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just learning how to swim, many water-related injuries can be avoided by knowing what to do and how to stay safe

That’s why MCFR and Montgomery Recreation have joined forces to promote the importance of water safety throughout the summer by offering a series of tips, including:

  • Learn to swim and never swim alone. One of the best things you can do to stay safe around the water is to learn to swim and to always swim with a buddy. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps which might make it difficult to get out of the water safely.    
  • Teaching your child how to swim does not mean that your child is safe in the water. If you have a pool or are visiting a pool, protect your children by supervising them at all times and being prepared in case of an emergency. Consider designating a “water watcher” when children are participating in water activities.   
  • Seconds count when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Read the full list of tips.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

Latest Analysis Shows Executive’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative is Working

An analysis at the recent CountyStat review of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative showed that County efforts to improve pedestrian safety are having a positive effect. 

Since 2005, pedestrian collisions per 100,000 residents have fallen from 46.7 in 2005 to 40.5 in 2011, and the severity of those collisions decreased.

The reductions in collisions are most notable in the County’s High Incidence Areas (locations targeted as having the highest density of collisions), areas around schools improved under the Safe Routes to Schools program and locations where traffic calming measures have been completed.

One of the biggest successes of the Initiative has been the Safe Routes to School program where engineering improvements at 129 schools, bolstered by education and enforcement actions, have significantly reduced pedestrian collisions.  The collision rate dropped from 1.45 to .4 incidents a year at some of the areas around schools with the highest number of collisions. 

CountyStat conducts periodic reviews of the components of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative that have played a critical and valuable role in the program.  By reviewing data, the County works to assure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety.  These reviews provide vital information on how to most efficiently target resources to reduce the number of pedestrian collisions in the County. 

See the full CountyStat presentation.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Transportation
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 5:30:00 AM |

Click It or Ticket Campaign Underway

The Montgomery County Police Department, with the support of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), has joined other law enforcement agencies nationwide for the 2012 Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign which will run until early June.

During the campaign, police officers will emphasize the importance of wearing a seat belt and using appropriate child safety seats through education and enforcement.

Not only will tickets be issued to unbelted motorists, publicity efforts will help ensure that drivers know they are more likely to get a ticket.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

County’s Public Safety Memorial Dedicated to "…fallen officers, who were taken from us far too soon"


Respect and remembrance were the order of the day on April 20 when County Executive Ike Leggett and other dignitaries dedicated the County’s new Public Safety Memorial located on the grounds of the soon-to-be completed Public Safety Headquarters at 100 Edison Park Dr. in Gaithersburg.

The first of its kind in the County, the memorial commemorates the courage and sacrifice of public safety personnel from the County’s Department of Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Sheriff’s Office, Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division and Department of Correction and Rehabilitation who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

The memorial was designed by nationally recognized artist Ted Clausen from Cambridge, MA. His mission was to create a memorial which honored each of the County’s public safety departments and reflected their vital relationship to each other. The memorial is entered by a pathway flanked by two stone pillars. “I designed this work to be a journey, leaving the public bustle of our everyday lives and moving toward the peace and introspection of the memorial space,” said Clausen. On the left side of the pathway are the American, State, County and Memorial Agency flags.

The circular site is defined by five granite memorial stones, one for each County Agency, arranged in a star-like pattern. One side of the stones features engraved comments from officers about the work they do and their interdependence with the other agencies. The other face of the stones contains engraved quotes from community members expressing their appreciation for the public safety agencies. On the top polished surface of the stones are the names of the fallen officers: 16 County Police Officers, 12 Firefighters, one Deputy Sheriff and one Park Police Officer. An engraved paving circle surrounds the site which also features a low bench to allow visitors to sit and reflect.

The memorial was funded by a public/private partnership. Funds continue to be needed for the upkeep of the memorial. Donations may be made to the Montgomery County Public Safety Memorial Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designated by the County Council to manage the funds. To learn more about the memorial and how to donate, visit www.creativemoco.com/public-art/public-safety-memorial.

Read more about the dedication.

Photos: TOP. A large crowd gathered for the memorial's dedication. MIDDLE: Hands of those who remember trace the name of a lost loved one engraved on top of the monument. BOTTOM. Standing by the monument, County Exceuitve Ike Leggett presents remarks. 

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

Crime in County Down for Fifth Consecutive Year

Montgomery County Police have announced that for the fifth year in a row, crime has decreased. Based on statistics from 2007 through 2011, there has been an 18.8% decrease in total crime over the past five years. Part 1 crimes have fallen 24.4%, while Part 2 crimes have dropped by 15.6%. 

Between 2010 and 2011, total crime decreased by 7.7 %. Part 1 crimes -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft -- fell 10.9 %. Part 2 crimes – such as minor assaults, arson, forgery-counterfeiting, stolen property, vandalism, weapons offenses and sex offenses -- decreased by 6%. 

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, “The men and women of the Montgomery County Police Department continue to put a great deal of effort into reducing crime.

“And, while our numbers went down in every category, crime did not go down in every area of the County,” Manger noted.

As a result, the chief explained that each of the six District Commanders will perform an in-depth analysis of where and when crime is occurring in their district. The areas showing the highest incidences of criminal activity will be targeted with additional resources, “in an effort to make Montgomery County even safer,” said Manger.

Read more about the latest statistics.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

Police Launch Community Alert System

In a continuing effort to connect to the community via technology, the Montgomery County Department of Police has launched the Community Alert System which is part of the County’s Alert Montgomery program.

The police will send messages via email and/or text messages to cell phones, pagers and smart phones on a variety of police issues, including crime trends, critical incidents, missing persons, etc.

Anyone who works, lives or has an interest in Montgomery County is encouraged to sign up at alert.montgomerycountymd.gov.  Users will be prompted to select particular geographical police areas known as beats, under the MCPD Police District Alerts tab. 

If you are not sure what beat you live or work in, just email the address(es) you want to receive alerts for to mcpdalert@montgomerycountymd.gov, and Police will provide the beat information you need.  Allow 72 hours for a response.

Read more about it.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

Carbon Monoxide -- The Invisible Killer; Protect Yourself and Your Family

Carbon monoxide, the most common cause of death by poison in the United States, kills more than 500 people every year. It is one of the most dangerous poisons, because you often aren’t aware of its presence until it’s too late.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) reminds every resident that the best way to protect themselves and their families from carbon monoxide poisoning is to buy a carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as CO) detector for the home.

Learn more by reading CO facts and tips for prevention from MCFRS.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 7:45:00 AM |

National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to be Established at NIST

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, to be established at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, will serve as a gateway for public-private partnership in developing cyber technology and advancements in cyber security.

County Executive Ike Leggett joined U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), NIST Director Patrick Gallagher (far right) and Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown in announcing the partnership that will establish the center.

As chairwoman of the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NIST, Senator Mikulski won $10 million to fund the new Cyber Center of Excellence.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

Alert Montgomery: Know What’s Coming

 

There’s no need, figuratively speaking, to be in the dark about weather-related or other emergencies.  Have information you need on-the-go and at your fingertips

Simply register for Alert Montgomery and receive emergency alerts about weather, roads, emergency situations  --or all three -- from one or more of your devices: including computer, cell phone, Blackberry or other PDA.

Residents who register will receive only the most urgent alerts (e.g. water main break, tornado warning) if they do not register for other optional groups. Alert Montgomery can deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates on all of your devices at once:

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

A New Year’s Resolution Never Too Late to Make: Be Fire Safe in 2012

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) suggests making one that can truly benefit you and your family - -  resolve to be fire safe in 2012.

Fire risks increase as the temperatures decrease and recent fire deaths across the country are tragic reminders that people need to take action now to be safe during the winter months.

Two basic “must haves,” according to MCFRS, are working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, in combination with a home escape plan.

Read tips regarding Fire Safety, Heating Equipment and Cooking.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

Pedestrian Safety Enhancements Along Piney Branch Road First of a Kind in the State

County Executive Leggett recently joined State, local, and regional leaders for another StreetSmart event to showcase the latest pedestrian safety improvements in a High Incident Area – along one segment of Piney Branch Road. The installation of special curb markings was the first of its kind in Maryland. The markers indicate where it is and is not safe for pedestrians to cross the street and remind walkers to think twice before crossing mid-block and risking injury or death.

In addition to engineering enhancements, education teams on the street are intervening when they see unsafe behaviors, and County Police are issuing tickets to drivers and pedestrians who are not obeying the law. In eight High Incidence Areas – including this Piney Branch corridor -- there was a 56 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions in 2010, compared to the preceding five-year average. The severity of the collisions also declined.

For information on safe walking, visit MCDOT's pedestrian safety website.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

County Council Tables Proposed Youth Curfew; Leggett Criticizes Council Refusal to Vote “Yes or No”

The County Council voted  6-3 to table Expedited Bill 25-11 that would have established a youth curfew in Montgomery County, refusing to allow the measure to come to an up or down, yes-or-no vote.

In July, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed establishment of a youth curfew for minors that would prohibit certain activities during the curfew hours for those under 18. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 12:01 a.m. until 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, a minor would have been prohibited from remaining in any County public place or establishment.

The proposed bill contained numerous exceptions. For example, a minor could have lawfully remained in public areas during curfew hours if they were: 1) accompanied by a parent or an adult authorized by the minor’s parent to accompany the minor; or 2) attending or returning home from an official school, religious or other recreational activity sponsored by the County, a civic organization or similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor. Other exceptions included returning home from a place of employment or from attending “an event at a place of public entertainment.”

A minor could have been cited for a curfew violation only after a police officer has told the minor to move along and the minor refused.

The Council had been considering the bill since July and Leggett had urged action on the measure to protect County youth from being victims of or becoming involved in late-night crime. The measure drew strong support from the Montgomery County Police, the Greater Silver Spring and Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase chambers of commerce, and several Community Citizen Advisory Boards, as well as editorially from The Washington Post and The Gazette.

“The County Council’s refusal to even take a yes or no vote on the proposed youth curfew is a failure of leadership,” said Leggett.

“Leadership means stepping up to the plate and deciding – yes or no – on critical issues that face our County. The youth curfew legislation has been before the County Council since July. It has been discussed exhaustively. We don’t need more talk – we need action.

“Our Police very much need this critical tool in order to deal with situations such as happened recently in Silver Spring and Germantown. I cannot believe that the Council denies our police officers this added help. I think it is unfortunate when politicians ‘second-guess’ our law enforcement professionals.

“I have heard that some Councilmembers are ‘afraid’ to vote for fear of offending one side or the other. I have heard others say, ‘Let’s wait until another late-night youth crime incident happens and then we’ll vote on it.’

“That’s not leadership. That’s the opposite of leadership.”

Leggett also emphasized that he “… will continue to work even harder to enhance public safety, especially for our young people. Our Police need and want a youth curfew which would help them perform their jobs and better protect our public. Our young people need the added protection a curfew brings.”

To hear the reaction of WTOP’s Chris Core on the Council’s failure to vote on the youth curfew bill, click on http://media.dev-cms.com/wtop/23/2321/232153.mp3.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

NOTEWORTHY NOTES

Working Smoke Alarms Critical to Home Safety; Free Installation and Maintenance Assistance Available

Fire Chief Richard Bowers reminds residents that as the winter heating season approaches, it’s critical that every home have working smoke alarms. “I strongly urge every resident to take a few minutes to test their smoke alarms, practice their home fire escape plan and replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Many people believe that smoke alarms last forever. They don’t.”

Montgomery County Code requires homeowners to install, test and maintain smoke alarms on every level of their home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with this local law could result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offers residents free assistance with smoke alarm installation and maintenance. Any homeowner who cannot install or test smoke alarms in their homes due to age or physical limitations or cannot afford to purchase a smoke alarm or batteries can call 311 for assistance.

For additional safety information, visit www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe.


An Important Holiday Tradition: Safety Tips from Police

Ready or not…it’s here. Another holiday season. That’s why Montgomery County Police have provided a comprehensive list of tips to help keep residents safe when shopping, walking and just spending time at home.

Below are examples from the complete list.

When shopping: 

  • Do not become distracted by your shopping.  Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
  • Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.

When out walking:

  • Wherever you are, on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, or waiting for a bus or the subway, stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.

When at home:

  • If your Christmas tree can be seen through a window, do not display presents under the tree where they could be seen.
  • Make sure to lock doors and windows.
  • If you are going away for the holiday, let a neighbor know that your home will not be occupied and have someone pick up your mail and newspapers.

“Respect The Space”: Keep Accessible Parking Spaces Open for Those Who Need Them

With the start of the busiest shopping season of the year, County Executive Ike Leggett has introduced a new education and enforcement initiative entitled “Respect the Space.”  The program will raise awareness about the proper use of accessible parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. 

“During the holiday season, parking lots fill to capacity, making close-in accessible spaces particularly tempting,” said Leggett.  “But I urge everyone to think very carefully about who those spaces are intended for …. We all need to respect the space and help ensure that reserved parking spaces are available for those who truly need them.”

“Respect the Space” is a cooperative effort involving the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Permitting Services, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger outlined the kinds of enforcement that his officers will be conducting.  “I am encouraging our officers to issue citations to all vehicles that do not have disabled placards or plates and are parked in accessible spaces.”

Anyone who sees a vehicle without an accessible placard or plate in an accessible space, should report it by calling the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

 Information about how to apply for disabled parking placards and permits, as well as laws and requirements regulating them can be found on the MVA website: www.mva.Maryland.gov

More information about the Respect the Space initiative is on the County’s website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Click on the Respect the Space icon.


Volunteers Sought to Assist Residents with Free Tax Help

Volunteers are needed to assist eligible residents with free income tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partnership, sponsored by the County Community Action Agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

VITA volunteers work 16 or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April, as tax preparers, greeters, screeners, interpreters and resource navigators. Flexible hours are available at convenient locations in East Silver Spring/Takoma Park, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Wheaton.

Free training is provided on-site and online. Volunteers who successfully complete the training will receive certification as a tax preparer by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To volunteer, call 240-777-1123, go to http://volunteer.truist.com/mcvc/org/opp/10494470271.html or email VITA@montgomerycountymd.gov

For more “free tax” volunteer opportunities, visit Maryland CASH Campaign, www.mdcash.org and Montgomery County’s RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program.


Turn Over a New Leaf in the New Year -- Literally

Montgomery County residents interested in learning environmentally sound gardening practices and sharing the information with others can apply now to join the 2012 Montgomery County Master Gardener training program.

The course begins January 24 and continues through March 9 (depending on possible snow days). Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County office, at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood.

The $300 training fee includes a training manual and other materials. Faculty and staff of the University of Maryland Extension, as well as other experts in the green industry, present horticulture lectures that cover ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs; identifying common pests and diseases; and proper fertilization and watering practices.

To become a Master Gardener, you must attend a mandatory, two-hour orientation, complete course work and a final exam, and perform 45 voluntary service hours in the first year. Participants should have access to the Internet. Once qualified, Master Gardeners maintain active status by completing 10 hours of advanced training and 25 hours of volunteer service annually. 

Registration deadline is December 30, 2011. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

To request an application, or for more information, call 301-590-2836.


Commission on Common Ownership Communities Releases Updated Manual and Resource Guide

The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) has produced an updated “Common Ownership Community Manual and Resource Guide” for the operation of condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. 

Information in the manual includes annual and special meetings, employee hiring and firing, capital replacement reserves, stormwater management, setting and collecting assessments, and financing.

Copies of the manual are available for $15 each.

For more information, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Worth Noting , Volunteer , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

Emergency Contact Information can now be Added to Maryland Drivers' Licenses

Thanks to a new option now available from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Maryland drivers can add three emergency contacts to their driver's license so police will know who to call if an accident occurs.

The emergency contact information is stored electronically on an individual's driver's license and will be available only to authorized law enforcement personnel.

The information can be added online -- in less than 10 minutes -- by going to MVA's website at www.mva.maryland.gov, clicking "On-line Transactions," then clicking "More" and then, "Emergency Contacts."

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Proposed Youth Curfew Website adds FAQs

To help provide more information to residents about the Executive's proposed youth curfew, a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been added to the website found on the County's homepage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Police Announce Arrests in Germantown Mass Theft; Leggett Submits Amendments to Enhance Curfew Bill

On August 13 at 1:47 a.m., 25 subjects simultaneously entered the 7-Eleven on Wisteria Dr. in Germantown and stole items, including snacks and drinks. The subjects remained in the store for approximately one minute before exiting as a group. Several of the subjects had covered their faces with various items of clothing.  

Following this incident, the surveillance video depicting the event was posted on You Tube to solicit public assistance in identifying the suspects. Additionally, 5th District Commander Luther Reynolds assigned several detectives, as well as a school resource officer, to investigate this theft.

In conjunction with the community, school officials and department personnel, detectives were able to positively identify 18 participants in this incident. Of those identified, 14 are juveniles and three are adults. One individual was not charged because it was determined that they had inadvertently entered the store while the theft was occurring. State’s Attorney John McCarthy stated the identified participants will be charged including theft under $1,000, conspiracy to commit theft under $1,000, and disorderly conduct. 

The identities of the additional individuals involved in the incident are still being investigated.

Commenting on the mass theft, County Executive Ike Leggett said, “This incident which occurred in the early morning hours clearly illustrates why my proposed overnight curfew for juveniles under 18 years of age could enhance public safety throughout the County.”

Within days of the announcement of the arrests, Leggett sent to the County Council a number of amendments “to clarify the intent of the bill and the manner in which it would be implemented.” The Executive said the amendments were based on testimony provided at the public hearing and feedback he had received from the State’s Attorney and other County residents.

Among the amendments proposed are:

  • designating a civil citation
  • removing requirement for parental penalty
  • clarifying the definition of an “emergency” and
  • expanding the list of affirmative defenses

Read the entire list of amendments.  Or go to the Proposed Youth Curfew website found on the County’s homepage at www.montgomerycountymd.gov for other information and comments.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Sheriff’s Office K-9s to Benefit from Steelers Quarterback’s Foundation

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced the first grant of the 2011 season from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund has been awarded to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s Office will use the grant to purchase four “K-9 Storm” bullet-proof vests to help protect the department’s four highly specialized canine teams. All members of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit are trained as dual purpose K-9s for the detection of explosives as well as patrol functions.

 See our K9 stars and their officers.

County Sheriff Darren M. Popkin said, "The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation program recognizes the importance of well-trained K-9 teams as part of our overall law enforcement efforts. Montgomery County Sheriff's Office K-9 dogs are cross trained for search, patrol and explosive detection duties. The grant funds will provide our dogs with vests that protect them from attacks with firearms and knifes while engaged in their duties."

The foundation is distributing grants to police and fire departments in Pittsburgh and in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers in the 2011 season. Police and fire departments in the nine away-game cities were invited to submit proposals detailing their needs. The Steelers play the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday, September 11.

For more information about the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation or The Giving Back Fund visit www.bigben7.com or www.givingback.org.


Patch.com Lists Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Volunteers and Staff as One of its “Picks”

Citing people who help make Rockville great in a recent edition, Patch.com  (Rockville) included the volunteers and staff of the Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). In a nod to MCPL’s 60th anniversary celebration, the write-up said, in part: “County libraries offer thousands of books that can be borrowed by county residents with a free library card. They also offer a quiet study environment, children's story hours, meet-the-author events and other free programs.”

 Check out the full writeup.


The Senior Connection Recognized for Expanded Service Delivery

The Senior Connection, a nonprofit agency that helps adults age 62 and over live independently in Montgomery County, has been recognized for the second time by the "2011-12 Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington" for its efforts that expanded service delivery by 37 percent over the past year and now assists seniors in Gaithersburg and Germantown.

Based in the Holiday Park Senior Center on 3950 Ferrara Dr. in Silver Spring, the agency helps senior adults live independently by connecting them with volunteers who provide free transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, social visits and other basic support needs.

Read more about the Senior Connection’s honor.

CATEGORIES: News , Senior , Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

Permitting Services Guidelines to Construction Site Managers

The weather forecast is anticipating high winds for Montgomery County over the weekend. 

The Department of Permitting Services is requiring construction site managers and supervisors to take the following preparations before the storm.

  • If the site has a tower crane, take appropriate actions to minimize wind forces on the crane including releasing the slew brake and allowing the crane to “weathervane”. 
  • Cranes shall not be operated when the wind speed is greater than 45 miles per hour.  Note that most tower cranes are only designed to be operated when the wind speed is less than 45 miles per hour. 
  • Secure construction material and construction debris to prevent these materials from becoming airborne. 
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, August 25, 2011 | 1:51:00 PM |

Noteworthy Notes - 1

“It’s Udderly Terrific”

It’s the 63rd Annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, running from August 12 through 20 at the Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. It’s loaded with free entertainment, animals, KidZone, 4-H demonstrations, arts and crafts, agricultural education, photography, shows and more.

New this year are some exciting entertainment, food and items Lawn Mower Racing, Michelle’s Magic Poodles, StatueViva, Draft Horse Pull, Fudge Puppie Waffles, Cheese Bites, Loaded Ribbon Chips, Alice in Wonderland, Jr. theater performance, and themed events. Additional grandstand events include the Monster Truck Madness and Demolition Derby's “Night of Destruction.

For more information, visit www.mcagfair.com.


Get Around Bethesda on New Circulators


The Bethesda Urban Partnership has launched new vehicles that will replace the former trolley-style vehicles and become the new Bethesda Circulator fleet.

Montgomery County and Bethesda Urban Partnership officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, recently introduced the new vehicles at a special event at Veterans Park, corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Aves. in downtown Bethesda.

The new Circulators contain 29 seats (including ADA accessible seating) and run on clean burning diesel fuel.

The free Bethesda Circulator’s route makes a 2.1 mile loop throughout downtown Bethesda and arrives at each of the 20 stops every 10 minutes. It connects downtown Bethesda’s public parking facilities and Metro as well as restaurants and retailers for easy navigation of downtown Bethesda.

A map detailing the Circulator’s route and hours, as well as the County’s public parking garages, is available at www.bethesda.org or by calling 301-215-6660.


Fall Guide to Recreation, Parks Programs Available

The Fall 2011 Guide to Recreation and Parks Programs is available at public libraries, as well as community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County. The Guide is also now available online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Guide will offer hundreds of classes and programs, including water aerobics, pottery, ballroom dancing, cooking and much more. Registration will begin on August 15.

For more information about the Department of Recreation, call 240-777-6840 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.


The Fueling Station of Tomorrow is Here Today

ATR Solartech photo.

The future came to Montgomery County in early August when Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR), an engineering and manufacturing firm based in Columbia, MD, debuted its Solar Power Pole -- Maryland’s first high-efficiency, sun-tracking electric vehicle (EV) solar charging station – in Bethesda at 10401 Old Georgetown Rd.

The Solar Power Pole is a sun-tracking system that moves with the sun to fully capture its clean power throughout the day and can fuel two electric vehicles at a time. Solar power is converted into electric power and stored in the utility grid.

The pole features an 18-foot tall elevated 1,410 watt, six-panel solar array that utilizes GPS-based sun-tracking technology for efficiency gains of 30-45% over conventional fixed solar arrays. The pole-top mount keeps the solar panels well overhead and the curbside footprint very small, aiding in its placement in urban and densely populated areas

County Executive Ike Leggett joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat, Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm Woolf, Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman, Baltimore-Washington Electric Vehicle Initiative Executive Director Jill Sorensen and Alvin L. (“Tripp”) Aubinoe, III, the first purchaser of the ATR Solar Power Pole and owner of the Bethesda site.

Read more about the Solar Power Pole debut event and ATR.


New Website for Youth Curfew Information

A new website on the County Executive’s proposed youth curfew has been added to the County’s homepage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Just look for the moon clock icon and “Proposed Youth Curfew” headline.

Included in the information found on the site is the original proposed legislation and testimony by MC Police Chief Thomas Manger presented at the County Council’s public hearing in late July.

Excerpts from the chief’s testimony appear below:

“We have an issue and we need to manage and curtail it. Despite budget hardships, we have retained many positive youth programs. However, our programs will not prevent youth displaced by curfews in other jurisdictions from coming to our downtowns and creating problems….”

“…crimes against juveniles occur throughout the County and are not concentrated in one or two Districts or locations. Similarly, arrests of juveniles are also spread throughout the County. Between 2009 and 2010, juvenile arrests increased from 2,035 (16% of all arrests) to 3,222 (25% of all arrests).

“A curfew law may not be a panacea for these problems but it would be a valuable law enforcement tool, and, given current police intelligence and the existence of such laws in our neighboring jurisdictions, this law would make the County a less attractive place for curfew-displaced youths from neighboring jurisdictions.

"Perhaps nothing we do in law enforcement is as important as working to increase the safety of our juvenile population. Studies show that juveniles who are the victims of crime are more likely to have difficulties later in life.

“We know we can’t ‘enforce’ our way out of every problem, but we also know that effective enforcement tools coupled with police discretion can help us remove a juvenile or a group of juveniles from a situation that could potentially turn violent or result in illegal or harmful conduct.

“As a parent and a Police Chief, I do not want to limit the legitimate opportunities for entertainment and interaction for our young people. Nor do I want to stand idly by and not have at our disposal a tool which can help us manage situations before they turn ugly.”

Read the entire testimony.


Literacy Volunteers Needed; Information Session Coming Up

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write, or speak English on Thursday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Asbury Methodist Village, Rosborough Hall,  201 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg.

Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times.

For complete details, call 301-610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org, or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation , Code Enforcement , Public Safety , Volunteer
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 2:30:00 AM |

Crime Down Again in First Quarter of 2011

County crime statistics just released by the Montgomery County Police show crime in the County is down 4.6 % for the first three months of 2011. This follows a drop in crime of 7.5 % in 2010 and, overall, a 12 % drop in County crime between 2007 and 2010.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:43:00 PM |

Leggett Proposes Curfew for Underage Youth

County Executive Ike Leggett has proposed establishing a curfew for youth under 18 years old in Montgomery County.

In his transmittal memo to the County Council, Leggett noted that he was sending, for introduction, a bill “… intended to address issues relating to increased gang activity, violence, and crime involving minors in the County. It imposes a curfew from Midnight to 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the remaining days of the week.”

The Executive’s bill is similar to curfew laws in existence in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.

 

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:42:00 PM |

Hot Cars and Kids -- a Deadly Combination

Across the country, July is typically the deadliest month for child fatalities in hot cars and that’s why Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) officials are reminding busy parents that it’s never okay to leave a child unattended in a car for any length of time or at any time of year.

This time of year, even with a window cracked, the temperature in a car can beome life-threatening within minutes. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of children being forgotten in vehicles, still strapped in their carseats, and dying from excessive heat exposure. Moreover, the body temperature of children rises three to five times faster than adults which means children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke.

Busy parents have a lot on their minds, so MCFRS has compiled a list of tips for parents, family members and caregivers to review.

Those tips include:

  • To avoid forgetting your child, always put your cell phone, PDA, gym bag, purse or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll see your child.
  • Take your children inside the home, and then unload groceries, dry cleaning and other items.
  • Before putting a child in a car that has been parked in a warm/sunny spot, check the temperature of the carseat or upholstery. Hot interior surfaces of a car can burn a child’s skin
  • Keep a teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. When you put your child in the seat, move the animal to the front passenger seat to remind you that your baby's on board
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately

To see the complete list of tips, visit the DFRS homepage and click on MCFRS Blog.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Health
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:38:00 PM |

Crime Down in County for 2010 – Lower Rates Part of a 12 Percent Decrease over Past Four Years

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has announced that total crime for 2010 decreased 7.5% from 2009 and Part I violent crimes decreased by 13.5%. 

The new figures contribute to a 12% decrease in total crime reported in the County in the past four years (71,491 crimes in 2007 to 62,944 crimes in 2010).  The data also shows a 15% decrease (25,629 to 21,739) in the Part I violent crimes recorded during this same period. This is in spite of a population increase of nearly 4% in the County from 941,491 people in 2007 to 971,777 in 2010.

Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics for year-end 2009 compared to year-end 2010 show:

  • Part I Crime   decreased by 13.5% (from 25,131 to 21,739)
  • Part II Crime  decreased by 3.9% (from 42,895 to 41,205)
  • Overall, Total Crime (Part I & Part II) decreased by 7.5% (from 68,026 to 62,944)

Part I crimes are defined as: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. 

Part II crimes are defined as: minor assaults, arson, forgery-counterfeiting, bad checks, embezzlement, stolen property, vandalism, weapons offenses, prostitution, sex offenses, controlled dangerous substance violations, gambling, family offenses, juvenile offenses, liquor law violations, disorderly conduct, suicide and non-traffic offenses.

Read the entire rundown of categories.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , News
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 9:00:00 AM |

Hot Tips for a Cooler Summer

With summer heat in full swing, Montgomery County health officials are encouraging residents to find places where they can stay cool, and to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Those most at risk are young children, the elderly, and people with health problems such as asthma, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion.

Libraries, recreation centers and pools are good places to cool off, along with shopping malls and movie theatres.
To quickly find the location of public facilities, go to http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mymontgomery and type in your location. The website includes the locations of pools, parks, libraries, regional services centers, recreation centers, Metro stations, hospitals and golf courses.

Residents with questions about specific locations and hours of operation should call 311.

See Summer Heat Safety Tips.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 4:30:00 AM |

More Seasonal Safety Reminders from the Fire and Rescue Service

To help residents have a safe, enjoyable summer season, the County’s Fire and Rescue Service has issued reminders for three important areas of warm-weather living noted below. 

“Splash into Summer Safely: Keep these Water Safety Tips in Mind” 
As the weather heats up, chances are you’ll be heading to the beach or pool to cool off. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just learning how to swim, many water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing what to do and how to stay safe. Drowning is the second leading killer of children ages 14 and under and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service urges residents to review some important tips to increase safety around the water

“Firing up the Grill? Keep these Safety Tips in Mind”
With the summer season upon us, residents will be firing up their grills for the first time this year and the last thing on many minds is probably safety. Well, it shouldn’t be, according to Fire Chief Richie Bowers. Every year, thousands of homes catch fire because of inproper use of grills and the chief wants to remind residents that preparation is the key to staying safe when using grills.

“Keep it Clean!  Make Safety Part of Your Spring Cleaning Routine”
Spring cleaning is a great time to focus on safety in and around the home and to identify and correct any potential safety hazards. Following some simple safety tips can help get your spring off to a safe start.

Have a safe summer!

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Everyday Hero: River Rescue Video

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 4:23:00 PM |

Full Service Website Now Available on New Zoning Laws

Residents are invited to learn more about the new zoning laws that will go into effect on April 24 that are designed to help protect and maintain the residential character of neighborhoods by checking out the new “Being Good Neighbors” website.

From there, you can connect to:

  • the informational brochure with information on each of the news laws, plus enforcement procedures
  • the legislation and
  • more than half a dozen resources with links to more information on the various new laws

Also, see the brochure in Spanish.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Code Enforcement , News
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 8:00:00 AM |

Investigators Seek Information on February Brush Fire; Tip Line Available 24/7

Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigators are looking for information from the community regarding the February 19 brush fire that impacted the Darnestown and Germantown areas.

Anyone with information to assist in the investigation is urged to call the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Tip Line at 240-777-2263. The Tip Line is a non-emergency number and callers can leave information anonymously or speak with an investigator.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

A Close Call on a Windy Day

The 2011 President’s Day weekend will be remembered by many in western Montgomery County not for the Monday holiday or the predicted snowfall Monday night. Instead it was raging winds feeding wildfires that spread across 500 acres of land on Saturday the 19th.

With assistance from firefighters in neighboring jurisdictions, over 300 Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel worked through the day and into the evening to contain the blaze from spreading. Over 70 structures were directly threatened by the blaze and firefighters worked tirelessly to keep the fire from spreading to occupied structures. Eight firefighters sustained minor injuries, but there was no loss of life.

County Executive Ike Leggett viewed the damage with DFRS officials from a helicopter.

The photos show ground-level and aerial perspectives of the extensive nature of the fire and just how close a call it was for some residents.The aerial photo shows the Green Meadow - Colton Lane area and the ground level shot was taken in the Indian Grass Drive neighborhood. DFRS photos.

See more Germantown Brush Fire photos from February 19 and 20.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Environmental
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 7:45:00 AM |

What Residents Should Know About Consolidating the Park and County Police

Eight months ago, the Montgomery County Council formed the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission with the mandate to recommend ways to restructure the way County agencies do business to save money and increase efficiency.

One of the Commission’s primary recommendations is to consolidate the Park Police and the Montgomery County Police Department

Not only will the consolidation save taxpayers at least $2 million a year, but will enhance the efficiency of communication and improve response times in a vast majority of County parks. The merger also will make additional County Police officers available to provide support and respond to calls for services in the parks.

Read more details (pdf) about the benefits of consolidation.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Budget
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

Protecting Consumers: County Takes Legal Action Against Plumbing Company

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has filed a lawsuit against All State Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. and its master plumber, Wayne E. Garrity, for charging extra for permit fees but failing to obtain permits and inspections when installing hot water heaters.

The lawsuit, filed through the Office of the County Attorney, is based upon an OCP investigation documenting that more than a dozen consumers were charged $90 to $150 for a permit from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). However, All State failed to apply for or receive permits, and consequently no inspections were conducted by WSSC upon completion of the installations. Between January 1, 2009 and May 15, 2010, All State installed approximately 100 water heaters in Montgomery County as the plumbing contractor for a home warranty program sold by American Home Shield.

The Office of Consumer Protection urges consumers in Montgomery County who have recently paid a contractor to install a new gas water heater to contact them or WSSC if they believe the work was not performed with a permit and not inspected by WSSC. An improperly installed gas water heater can cause unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in a home.

For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or email consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov. Consumers should call WSSC at 301-206-4004 if they are concerned that their gas water heaters were not inspected

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

Holiday Impaired Driving Task Force Begins Operations

Law enforcement agencies within Montgomery County have begun a multi-agency task force designed to help ensure that everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday season while remembering the importance of not driving while impaired.

The 2010 task force is comprised of members of the Montgomery County Police Alcohol Initiatives Unit, along with officers from each of the six Montgomery County police districts. They are joined by law enforcement officers from across the County and the Maryland State Police to devote their full time and attention to detecting alcohol-related offenses.

Several techniques and initiatives that will be utilized during the Holiday Task Force are: saturation patrols, compliance checks, controlled dispersal of underage drinking parties, covert surveillance of alcohol establishments and sobriety checkpoints. Get more details.   

 

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Monday, December 06, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |

Montgomery League Of Women Voters Changes Position: Supports County Emergency Transport Fee!

In a reversal of long-standing policy, the Montgomery County chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) this week joined a growing chorus of support for the County’s Emergency Medical Transport Fee, which would collect $14 million this year (and $170 million over ten years) from insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid to fund critical Fire & Rescue efforts at no cost to County residents. Read the LWV statement.

The City Council of the City of Takoma Park also voted unanimously to support the program. See their resolution.

County Executive Ike Leggett recently forwarded to the County Council a memo detailing budget reductions that would be necessary if the ambulance reimbursement law was rejected in the November 2 balloting, opening up a $14 million hole in this year’s Fire & Rescue budget.

Among the consequences detailed in the proposal would be the mothballing of 11 County ambulances, the layoff of 107 firefighters and paramedics, and the elimination of the Police in County schools programs. Additionally, Sunday service at County public libraries would be eliminated, County road maintenance programs drastically reduced, and more than $2 million in Health & Human Services programs would be cut should the $14 million in ambulance reimbursement funds not be available.

“Given our already tight budget, any further cuts will echo across the County,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. Our obligation is to maintain a balanced budget. If residents vote against the ambulance fee, they will be voting for $14 million in cuts to services.” See County Executive Leggett’s memo to the Council. 

The Washington Post and The Gazette have also editorialized in favor of the Emergency Medical Transport Fee. Read the Post editorial and the Gazette editorial.

To download the “It’s All About Saving Lives” fact sheet on the issue, click here for English and here for Spanish.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 11:00:00 AM |

Federal Transportation Secretary LaHood Joins County’s International Walk to School Day Celebration

 

County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined parents, teachers, and children around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day at East Silver Spring Elementary School (ESS). The annual event promotes safer streets, healthier lifestyles and cleaner air. Leggett was joined by Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (center), Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and other dignitaries. Approximately 30 other schools across the County celebrated the day with various activities.

East Silver Spring was the first school in the County to hold a Walk to School Day celebration back in 1999. William Smith, a legally blind parent, was the impetus behind the event and for Maryland’s designation of walking as the state exercise. He’s an advocate for pedestrian safety and was a guest of honor at the celebration.

ESS is also promoting healthy eating, exercise and life styles. The school was adopted by Whole Foods, which helped students plant and maintain a garden in the courtyard. Whole Foods’ “Chef Egg” offered a very popular once-a-week after-school cooking class. And, an after-school “walking club” helped ESS students get more exercise and prepare for the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School 5K Challenge, in which hundreds of students and parents participated.

Montgomery County is upgrading safety at schools, thanks in part to the federal Safe Routes to School program created in 2005. The program provides funding communities can use to retrofit roads and create sidewalks and bike paths that allow children to safely walk or bike to school. Funding also supports enforcement and education campaigns.

For more information, visit MCDOT's pedestrian safety website or call the Office of Community Outreach at 240-777-7155.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Education , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 8:00:00 AM |

Special Thanks on Behalf of a Grateful Community

In the wake of the hostage incident on September 1 at Discovery Communications headquarters in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, County Executive Ike Leggett visited Silver Spring Fire Station #1 the next day, to thank the County’s public safety responders for their actions that helped resolve the situation with no loss of hostages and took follow up action to ensure that the building was safe for employees to re-enter the next day. The County Executive was joined by Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Fire Chief Richard Bowers and Incident Commander Capt. Darryl McSwain.

Also on hand to express their appreciation to the first responders were 8th District Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and from the County Council: President Nancy Floreen, Vice President and District 5 representative Valerie Ervin, and at-large member George Leventhal. Read County Executive's statement.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Public Safety
POSTED: Saturday, September 04, 2010 | 11:30:00 AM |

Helping Kids Stay Safe

 

To promote pedestrian safety, as nearly 142,000 local children are back in school, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that new fixed pole speed cameras have been installed at White Oak Middle School, where speeding has been a chronic problem for many years. Two cameras were installed at the school – one for each direction of traffic on New Hampshire Ave. These are the first new, fixed pole cameras to be installed since 2009.

Police also announced that they will be enhancing traffic enforcement activities in school zones during the first few weeks of school.

Fixed pole speed cameras were first installed in Montgomery County in 2007. They have proven to be a deterrent to unsafe driving by reducing speeding. Montgomery County also uses mobile and portable cameras throughout the County in residential areas with speed limits of 35 mph or less or school zones. All locations are marked with “Photo Enforced” signs. A list of the speed enforcement areas is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed.

Read more, on press release including safety advice for parents and kids. Plus, additional tips from the County’s Fire and Rescue Service.
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Saturday, September 04, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Reported Gang Incidents Continue to Drop in County

Following a trend that began two years ago, the number of reported gang incidents in Montgomery County has continued its decline into the first quarter of 2010.

In the first three months of this year, 54 gang incidents were reported in the County, compared to 92 in the first quarter of 2009 and 58 incidents in the final quarter of 2009.

From a total high of 507 recorded in 2007, the number of reported incidents dropped to 442 in 2008 with an even larger dip to 285 in 2009.

To see the reports from the last few years, go to Special Investigations Division on the Police Department website.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 5:00:00 AM |

The Council Has Made the Right Call Executive Says of Approval of the Emergency Medical Transport Fee

The following statement was issued by County Executive Ike Leggett following the Council’s approval of the EMS Transport Fee:

“We must keep the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service world-class and make sure it has the resources to protect our families. We must continue to serve everyone in need, regardless of ability to pay.

“That’s why Council passage of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Transport Fee is so important. This measure will save lives because our Fire & Rescue Service will have the resources it needs to meet the growing emergency service needs within the County.

“With passage of this bill, Montgomery County will receive $13 million this year – and  nearly $170 million over 10 years -- in revenue from funds already set aside by private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“Other jurisdictions are already using these funds to improve services and save lives – with no adverse effects. Passage of this fee will allow Montgomery to do the same.

  • County residents with health insurance will pay nothing – no co-pays, no deductibles, nothing. Guaranteed. The charge will be billed directly to Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance companies. County residents without insurance pay nothing. If questions arise about reimbursements that will be between the companies/payors and the County – the individual County resident will still pay nothing.
  • Nearly all of our neighboring jurisdictions either have an EMS Transport fee -- Fairfax County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Prince William County, and Alexandria. In fact 19 of 26 Maryland counties, over 50 of 95 Virginia counties and the vast majority of jurisdictions nationwide already have such a fee.
  • 100 percent of the net proceeds of the EMS Transport Fee will go, by law, to strengthen and enhance the MCFRS. 
  • There is also no evidence that health insurance premiums have gone up because of EMS charges. Ambulance expenditures account for less than one percent of insurance expenditures. In most cases County residents may already be paying for ambulance service as a part of their premiums.
  • There is no evidence from jurisdictions that have successfully implemented this fee that it deters anyone from calling for needed emergency medical transport assistance.
  • There is no evidence that such fees have hurt volunteer efforts in any of the jurisdictions that have implemented.

“If we had failed to implement an EMS Transport fee, our options would have been to increase taxes further, take resources away from other critical County needs, or slow the pace of needed improvements in our emergency medical services. That is unacceptable.

“The County Council has made the right call – and County residents will be safer as a result.”

 For more information on the EMS Transport Fee, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/emstransportfee, read the brochure (English PDF |172 KB | Spanish PDF | 158 KB) or watch the video.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Serious Crime Down for 2009

 Montgomery County Police (MCPD) have announced that the Part I (serious) crime statistics for the 2009 calendar year show a 6.8% decrease in total Part I reported crime within the County.

Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics for Part I year-end 2009, compared to the same period in 2008, show:

Murder:  decreased by 38.1%     (from 21 to 13)
Rape:    decreased by 5.3%       (from 131 to 124)
Robbery:     decreased by 9.8%       (from 1,100 to 992)
Aggravated Assault: increased by 8.3%        (from 835 to 904)
Burglary:  decreased by 16.4%     (from 3,603 to 3,011)
Larceny:   decreased by 3.5%       (from 19,027 to 18,356)
Auto Theft:   decreased by 23.3%     (from 2,258 to 1,732)

The only Part I crime category to increase in 2009 was aggravated assault which rose by 8.3% (from 835 to 904). In this category, assault victims are counted, not incidents. So, any single aggravated assault incident with more than one victim is counted for each of the victims.  Domestic assaults counted for 42.9% of all assaults.  Assaults against police officers accounted for 2.4% of all aggravated assaults.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said while he was encouraged by the drop in Part I crime numbers, “I know that there are a multitude of factors that contribute to the amount of crime that goes on in a particular area.  MCPD has been doing a better job in recent years at deploying our resources where they are needed the most and can do the most good.  We continue to rely on our community members to timely report to police suspicious persons and suspicious activities; and to provide tip information to advance our investigations.”

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |

A Look at Locations of Emergency Medical Services Fees Around the Area

Three years ago, County Executive Ike Leggett recommended adoption of an Emergency Medical Services transport fee which would bill insurance companies, Medicare or Medicaid for ambulance transports and raise millions for County Fire and Rescue – at no out-of-pocket cost to County residents. The failure to approve the fee has cost the County tens of millions of dollars.  Meanwhile, other jurisdictions in the metropolitan area have used these resources to improve service and save lives. And, there’s no evidence from any of them of any adverse effects. That tells you something.

The County Executive has included the fee as part of his FY11 Recommended Operating Budget. Take a look at the surrounding counties that have an EMS fee in place.

  • EMS Fees in Maryland Jurisdictions (pdf)
  • EMS Fees in Virginia Jurisdictions (pdf)
  • EMS Fees in the National Capital Region (NCR) Jurisdictions (pdf)

For complete information about the benefits of the EMS fee to Montgomery County, visit EMS website, or download brochure (pdf).

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | 5:00:00 PM |

“Keeping the Fleet on the Street”

Very simply put, “keeping the fleet on the street” is the basic mission of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service’s (MCFRS) new Central Maintenance Facility which opened on March 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration befitting the state-of-the-art facility that is the first of its kind in the country – boosting efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Realizing that a well-maintained fleet is one of the primary requisites of an efficient, effective public response system, the MCFRS has consolidated its satellite fleet management shops into the 77,000 square-foot facility at 14935 Southlawn Lane in Rockville that can service up to 60 percent of the fire-rescue fleet. The Fleet Section also includes a shop at Gaithersburg Fire Station 8 that operates as the North Satellite Shop.

The facility includes nine service bays and a centralized parts department and will establish a ready reserve fleet.  A staff of 15, including mechanics and administrative personnel, will work at the complex that also houses administrative offices, apparatus storage, training facilities and a wash bay.

Because these ready reserve units can be placed into immediate service should a vehicle be designated out of service, the Montgomery County community is assured of continuity of fire and rescue service without compromising response times.

As the MCFRS call load continues to increase, this new, state-of-the-art complex is well-positioned to keep the fleet on the street and in top operating condition.

For additional information about the facility, contact Assistant Chief Richard Holzman at 240-777-2485.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 4:00:00 PM |

Get the Message: Be "Street Smart” Because Speed Can Kill

On a neighborhood street near the heart of Silver Spring, the region’s Street Smart safety campaign got underway with a dramatic demonstration of the effects of speed on pedestrian and cyclist safety. 

A demonstration on the amount of time and distance required for a vehicle to stop featured “Bobby”, a wire frame model of a 10-year-old child crossing the street and encountering a vehicle traveling toward him at speeds of 25, 35 and 40 miles per hour.  Placed at a fixed point in the street in front of a designated stopping point, Bobby was safe crossing in front of the vehicle traveling at 25 miles per hour, but was not so fortunate crossing when the vehicle was traveling at the higher speeds.  He was struck hard at 35 miles per hour, his body hurled forward, sustaining severe injuries.  At 40 miles per hour, Bobby was struck even more violently.

Fortunately, Bobby is a wire-frame dummy, not one of the 270 actual child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes nationally in 2008.

The highly realistic demonstration showing Bobby being brutally struck was meant to strike a chord with drivers that speed is a major killer. 

View the demonstration and see for yourself.

Still not convinced? Then take a look at this video message used by PEDS, Metro Atlanta's pedestrian advocacy organization.

CATEGORIES: Transportation , Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |

Crime down again in county

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has announced a 4.1 percent decrease in total crime within Montgomery County for the third quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. Click here to see the news release. 
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Monday, January 04, 2010 | 11:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010