Cumberland Times-News

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January 19, 2013

Former sheriff directing Safe Streets program

CUMBERLAND — Local law enforcement expects to take a big bite out of crime in the coming months and years, thanks to a grant-funded Safe Streets program implemented through the Cumberland Po-lice Department.

Directed by former Allegany County Sheriff David Goad, the program is a multipronged approach that gathers investigative information from various agencies and then analyzes the data to target individuals who are committing the most crimes.

“Our program expectation is the reduction of crime in the city of Cumberland,” Goad said. “The Safe Streets Program is an offender-based model established to institute seamless coordination, consistent interagency collaboration and information-sharing across all levels of government to reduce violent crime by focusing on the core group of offenders who commit the majority of violent offenses locally.”

The program features 10 goals — identify and prioritize offenders and warrants, train patrol on safe streets strategies, track prosecution of priority offenders, nuisance abatement, supervise and contain priority offenders, establish a watch center model, establish prosecution strategies, identify and enforce suspended and truant children, and enhance technology.

Goad said communication between his office and officers in the field is essential for the success of the program. “To accomplish these goals it is our intent to communicate with officers in the field — which is a vital data-sharing tool in the reduction of crime, establish arrest warrant initiatives, continue to inform the public,  intelligence gathering, targeted investigations, saturation pa-trols, collaboration with allied agencies and arrest rather than issue a criminal citation.”

Goad, a former president of the National Sheriff’s Association, explained the Safe Street process will include “the aggressive tracking of the disproportionate amount of repeat offenders who are responsible for all the crime, by utilizing a integration model of multiagency collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, public safety agencies and community partners.”

Additionally, the program includes “a variety of initiatives across several disciplines” to make residents safer and neighborhoods more attractive.

In other words, local criminals are going to get more attention from police than they ever did previously.

“The objectives are to reduce crime and criminal activity within the city and surrounding areas — since we know that criminality has no boundaries. The reduction of backlogged arrest warrants is another objective by capitalizing on the excellent cooperation between law enforcement agencies in this area.

“We pride ourselves in the collection and sharing of data but lack a formal system of crime analysis which will be addressed with the hiring of the crime analyst (Jason Mellott). This project will combine many public safety and social service partners aimed at crime reduction and making neighborhoods safe,” said Goad, who was elected four times to the office of sheriff and served in that capacity for 16 consecutive years. His law enforcement career spans more than three decades of public service in Allegany County.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention’s Safe Street program will also include periodic newsletters to inform the public about its crime-fighting efforts.

A newly formed Cumberland Safe Street Coalition includes the Cumberland mayor and council; Cumberland Department of Community Development; Cumberland Housing Authority; Office of the Allegany County State’s Attorney; Allegany County Sheriff’s Office; C3I and its Narcotics Investigation Unit; Allegany County Detention Center; Health Department; Board of Commissioners;  Maryland Department of Parole and Probation; Department of Juvenile Services; Western Correctional Institution and the North Branch Correctional Institution; Maryland State Police; U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com.

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