I enjoyed reading last week's article about the reduction in auto theft in our city and county.

Representatives of government from all three branches at all levels, the industry and the public formed the Task Force headed by the then-Director of Public Safety, Vernon Herron. It was formed as a direct result of a regional summit conference on auto theft hosted by the GEICO Insurance Co. In addition to hosting the first summit conference, GEICO contributed the funds to purchase the first of four tag readers used in our county.

The Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, led by its then-executive director, Major Ray Pressley of the Maryland State Police, provided the funds for additional officers, prosecutors, training, equipment, advice and juvenile rehabilitation programs. The legislature changed the law to allow an owner of a stolen car to have to only appear once in court to testify. Councilman Fred Smalls represented the city of Laurel and the city contributed an officer full time to the WAVE Task Force.

More than $40,000,000 a year has been saved by the people of our county since the number of cars stolen dropped in half. As you pointed out, much has been done to address this economic crime.

In 1838, Thomas Jefferson said it best: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

C. Philip Nichols Jr.

Laurel

C. Philip Nichols Jr. is a Prince George's County Circuit Court judge