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Balto. Co. Police win award for program tracking violent offenders

The Baltimore County Police Department has been recognized by an international police organization for its use of a statewide program designed to keep watch on the most violent offenders.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police awarded the Webber Seavey Award to Chief James W. Johnson for using the Violence Prevention Initiative, a four-year-old program that fosters greater cooperation between police officers and state parole and probation agents. Police have used the program to jail people for probation violations who are suspects in criminal investigations, to seize weapons and to develop information used to make arrests.

"We know that targeting potentially violent offenders is a key to preventing crime," Johnson said in a prepared statement. "I'm gratified that the IACP recognizes the results we've achieved with this program, and proud of our officers and our partners in state law enforcement."

In 2010 and 2011, county police made 150 arrests through VPI, including 60 people described as "high-ranking gang members."

Division of Parole and Probation agents now have desks at police headquarters in Baltimore County, the city and Prince George's County.

Based in Alexandria, Virginia, the International Association of Chiefs of Police claims more than 20,000 members in about 100 countries who belong to international, federal, state and local police departments.

arthur.hirsch@baltsun.com

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