CALEA Update Magazine | Issue 106
Building on Accreditation — Maryland’s Carroll County Sheriff’s Office
Recently the 59th Board of Carroll County, Maryland Commissioners unanimously approved a three year transition of primary police services from the Maryland State Police Resident Trooper program, to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, replacing 45 contractually leased troopers with 43 deputy sheriffs. During the past decade, the decision to transition from contractual police services to locally controlled policing by the sheriff’s office has been the subject of countless studies, political debates, and special legislation. This historic achievement is not borne of politics, but one rooted in history and cast in a foundation built by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) on the professional standards of the CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. What follows is a description of a few of the key steps taken and advances made by the Sheriff’s office to earn the trust and confidence placed in it by the Carroll County Board.
Beginning with achieving the CALEA Recognition award in November 2003, transitioning to Law Enforcement Accreditation in July 2006, and through subsequent reaccreditation, the CCSO has used CALEA accreditation as a blueprint to continuously improve the service delivery to the citizens of Carroll County, and to strive for professional excellence. In 1974, the Carroll County Commissioner’s contracted with the Maryland State Police for “resident troopers” to supplement local law enforcement services to the rapidly expanding population. With the State of Maryland providing a 25% match to the county for the cost of each trooper, the resident trooper program was cost effective. As a result, the extent of law enforcement duties performed by the sheriff diminished.
Carroll County’s central location between metropolitan Baltimore and Washington, D.C. provides residents a convenient commute, and is likely responsible for the nearly triple increase in the county’s population since the inception of the resident trooper program. Current census estimates report the Carroll County population at 174,696. A natural consequence of the population increase, which is forecasted to continue, has been an increased demand for law enforcement services.
Since his first election in 1998 and subsequent three re-elections, Kenneth L. Tregoning has served the citizens of Carroll County as Sheriff. A veteran commander with the Maryland State Police, the United States Marine Corps, and longstanding community volunteer, Sheriff Tregoning recognized the temporary nature of contractual police services; especially once the state capped the program, removed the matching funding, and began billing a thirty percent surcharge to manage the contract. Applying his experience, education in business management, and commitment to partnerships, Sheriff Tregoning turned to the CALEA process for help in developing policy and procedures that would lay the ground work for a transition of policing responsibilities.
Sharing Authority & Responsibility
In the early months of his first term, Sheriff Tregoning reorganized the CCSO, and immediately redirected 39 deputy sheriffs’ to supplement local police resources. Other changes were also easily observed, like the revision of the sheriff’s office logo, uniforms, and vehicle graphics, which now identify and associate with county government, establishing an esprit de corps among all county employees.
To capitalize on the services provided by the limited number of police patrolling Carroll County, Sheriff Tregoning engaged correctional staff in the development of a “central booking unit”, which now processes all arrestees for every police agency within the county. The automated booking system has reduced prisoner-processing time, returning the arresting officer to patrol in approximately thirty-minutes, much quicker than the former two-plus hour conventional processing. This savings in prisoner processing time is equivalent to having an additional 4.5 police officers patrolling Carroll County annually.
Similarly, through an agreement established with the Department of Juvenile Services, the sheriff’s transportation unit began transporting all juvenile arrestees taken into custody by state and local police serving Carroll residents. Again, this practice returned the arresting officer to patrol after processing, where the former method required that officer to personally transport the juvenile to the nearest available detention facility, which was no less than a two-hour round trip.
In further support of local law enforcement, the application of special deputization legislation sought by Sheriff Tregoning has since granted Carroll’s municipal police officers specific authority while on official duty and traversing any portion of Carroll County. Under this authority, municipal officers are permitted to act as a deputy sheriff when they observe life threatening traffic violations, are informed that a crime is in progress, or that an emergency exists.
Partnerships for Prevention
Sheriff Tregoning led office participation in establishing a local Triad Program in partnership with Carroll County’s AARP Charter 662. This three-way partnership among the community’s senior citizens, leaders, and local law enforcement meets monthly and has been effective in addressing public safety and quality of life issues that affect our senior citizens, especially in the areas of fraud, identity theft, and a host of other crimes specifically targeted at the elderly. Despite one of the lowest per capita ratios of law enforcement officers to citizens, seasoned detectives are assigned to routinely meet with senior citizens and provide education and guidance into the various crimes they may be subjected to without their constant vigilance. Through these presentations, and the agencies continued participation with Carroll County Senior Citizen TRIAD/SALT Programs, many would-be victims are now better informed and reductions in related crimes have resulted.
In addition to enforcement, the sheriff initiated an agreement with Carroll County Public Schools to train a deputy under the “Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program” (DARE), adding them to the school system’s “Youth Intervention Officer Program.” The “Youth Intervention Officer Program” not only teaches DARE, but other safety programs to elementary, middle and high school students while exposing the students to positive role models; deputies, who emulate honesty, integrity and success.
Sheriff Tregoning’s aggressive grant submissions, application of new ideas and policies as researched through CALEA, NSA and IACP, the CCSO has successfully maximized a variety of funding sources to further its goals and objectives regarding public safety, community policing and information sharing.
For example, using grant funding, Sheriff Tregoning has led the implementation of various technologies that have not only increased efficiency, but enhanced the judicial process. Today, a closed circuit TV system linking video monitors in several court rooms to cameras at the detention center are used to conduct inmate bail reviews. This technology accelerates the hearing process, allowing bail review proceedings to be conducted from the detention center, while eliminating the need to transport inmates from the secure corrections environment to the courthouse.
Following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Sheriff Tregoning secured a “Personnel Rescue Vehicle” and a “Mobile Command Center” complete with satellite, computer, and 800mhz communication technologies to provide for a “unified command” during local emergencies under the federal “Law Enforcement Prevention Program.” The CCSO also purchased, trained, and posted an explosive detection canine team within the county courthouse. In addition to proactive sweeps for explosives, the canine team has responded to local and neighboring judicial facilities, government offices, and schools to assist with the investigation of countless bomb threats and suspicious packages. In partnership with Carroll County’s municipal police departments, the sheriff’s office established a multi-agency “crisis response team.” Equipped for hostage negotiations and high-risk situations involving tactical entries and takedowns, the team has made several hundred high risk entries and arrests without incident.
Securing the homeland remains a priority, as the CCSO has entered agreements with the University of Maryland to participate in the Capital Area Wireless Information Network, and has staff meet regularly with the Regional Crime Analysis System (RCAS), and the Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LINX) for information sharing. Likewise, through a partnership with Colonial Pipeline and the Office of Domestic Preparedness, the sheriff’s office was awarded funds to purchase and deploy two all terrain vehicles to support homeland security operations in and around the major east coast fuel line junction traveling through South Carroll.
Despite the fiscal limitations of a declining economy, the CCSO has continued to pursue solutions to a myriad of issues and challenges currently facing public safety. Nearly every solution requires some level of funding or personnel though. Inasmuch, the CCSO has pursued and been awarded a variety of state and federal grant monies, as well as monies recouped from drug forfeitures to fund these solutions. At other times, the sheriff’s office placed more responsibilities on its personnel to promote community crime prevention programs and investigations.
One example of the advances led by Sheriff Tregoning is the establishment of an “auxiliary patrol program” staffed with community volunteers who supplement sworn law enforcement staffing in the performance of police operations not requiring arrest authority, such as completing residential security surveys, instructing the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program to Carroll elementary school students, and traffic management during accidents and special events. Since its 2006 inception, the auxiliary patrol has supplemented local law enforcement patrols by more than 11,000 hours.
As another example, the CCSO as the lead agency, worked closely with the Carroll County Commissioners, all of the county police chiefs, the Maryland State Police, the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, Carroll County Citizen Advocacy Groups, the State Department of Social Services, the Carroll County Department of Juvenile Services, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Gang Enforcement Network (MARGIN), the State High Intensity Drug Trafficking Association (HIDTA), and the federal, state, and local Department of Corrections to secure a much needed gang prevention grant from the United State’s Attorney General’s Office.
With these funds, an anti-gang prevention coordinator was hired, and surveillance equipment was purchased to aid in gang member identification within county. Consequently, all gang activity that was emerging within the county, including members of the CRIPS, BLOODS, Dead Men Incorporated, MS-13, white supremacists groups, etc, was identified and investigated.
Relevant information about these gangs is now entered into the state Gang Intelligence System (GIS) and all police departments in Carroll County are equipped with camera equipment that has been dispersed to line personnel for the purpose of photographing gang members as they are observed. Once captured on film, the photos can be shared with all interested parties and used in member identification, arrest, and prosecution.
A much-needed video multi-plexor was later purchased utilizing funds from the Carroll County Drug Task Force. With the addition of this critical piece of law enforcement equipment, all police departments within Carroll County are now able to forensically view and analyze the myriad of different media formats used in surveillance cameras located in banks, convenience stores, and other commercial establishments. Prior to its purchase, all evidentiary media had to be transported into neighboring jurisdictions for forensic examination. This resulted in the loss of critical investigative hours that had the potential of costing lives if the perpetrators were permitted to continue their activities without expeditious suspect identification.
Information Led Policing
The CCSO has also targeted burglaries and thefts through community education. Sheriff’s office investigators analyzed the investigative reports of those incidents reported during 2008 and found that the theft of electronics, tools, cash and other valuables from unlocked vehicles, sheds and homes account for almost three-fourths of those crimes. In 2009, a student intern and volunteer from the sheriff’s auxiliary patrol manually pin-mapped the occurrences of thefts and burglaries countywide, identifying nearly 60 neighborhoods throughout Carroll County that experienced multiple thefts and burglaries during the preceding year. Further, local incarceration patterns indicated that much of what was taken during these crimes is used to support illicit drug habits.
Again using seized drug monies, the CCSO later designed and printed an informational door hanger with theft prevention tips for distribution in the hot spots identified during the crime analysis, and patrol deputies and auxiliary patrol volunteers began hanging the material on the front doors of each residence in the 60 neighborhoods identified. The notice contained practical information that citizens can use to minimize exposure to criminal activity. This “Directed Community Education Initiative” was credited with reducing thefts and burglaries by 5% to a three year low, ending a several year increase in those crimes. For this, the CCSO was honored with the Governor's Award of Merit from Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley in December 2010.
In order to further stretch Carroll County law enforcement personnel, Sheriff Tregoning solicited employee input for cost saving measures, and using a staff proposal implanted a six month trial schedule with patrol deputies working 12 hour shifts, investigators working 9 hour shifts, and some administrative personnel working 10 hour shifts. At the close of the trial, overtime decreased at the same time daily patrol staffing increased. This provided additional proactive patrols that increased visibility of police personnel within local communities, accomplishing the maximum efficiency of available resources, and increasing morale among employees.
It is decisions like these that have inspired a shared public safety vision that has improved public safety, grown the office’s community role and its law enforcement staffing – from 39 to 109 – over the past decade. Sheriff Tregoning credits the application of new ideas and standards promulgated by CALEA, the creative partnerships with other Police Accreditation Coalition members, and the vetting of results through the comprehensive management analysis and on-site assessment process with having established a foundation strong enough to inspire the confidence of a community and its local government.