Carroll County to join Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network
By Jennifer Turiano
Carroll County Times|
Apr 24, 2018 at 1:45 PM
Carroll County officials plan to join the statewide criminal intelligence network organized to complement Gov. Larry Hogan's measures against gang-related crimes out of Baltimore City.
The county sheriff's and state's attorney's offices informed the Board of County Commissioners at a meeting Tuesday morning they are applying for a grant from the Governor's Office of Crime, Control and Prevention to join this effort — which could award the offices up to $475,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.
Funding from the grant would create positions for two new intelligence analysts and a prosecutor, as well as provide overtime for all law enforcement partners in the county for an entire year. A budget for related equipment, technology, interfaces and licenses would also be included.
"In our last [Governor's Council on Gangs and Violent Criminal Networks] meeting we had some presentation regarding the software," said Council Chair and Carroll's State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo. "It was pretty nice that they want to make us the third jurisdiction [in addition to Baltimore city and Anne Arundel County].
"It's much more of a proactive policing approach for us to be on the front edge of that."
The main goal of the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network — a data-sharing system connecting state-funded initiatives from various counties and cities — is to "break down jurisdictional barriers and enable law enforcement and prosecutors to target entire criminal enterprises" under anti-crime legislation passed in 2016, according to the governor's office.
DeLeonardo said that even though Carroll County has a low crime rate, it is not immune to criminal activity that could cross county lines.
"Gangs based in various parts of the state sell drugs outside their 'home base' as well," he said after the meeting, "so sometimes we can identify a group that is selling in our county that is affiliated with a group elsewhere and this would aid in that.
"Also, when we investigate overdose deaths we can gather information as to who was the supplier to that person which can help prosecute higher level defendants in a drug organization elsewhere," he said. "In other words, if we can identify those that are overdosing in our county, gather information from their phone to show who they are buying from, we can then take all that information to identify patterns and relationships to reveal what drug groups are operating in our region as well as others."
Homicides in Baltimore increased from 318 in 2016 to 342 in 2017. This year there have already been 87 killings in the city. Using the MCIN network, Hogan's efforts to battle gang-related violence reach out to other jurisdictions, Carroll County included.
"Gang violence and violent crime is not limited to one city or one county — it is infecting communities everywhere," Hogan stated in December. "Their poisoning of too many of our communities is far-reaching, and our administration is committed to doing whatever we can to assist local law enforcement in their mission to identify, disrupt, and dismantle these gangs and violent criminal networks."
The county commissioners did not need to make any decisions regarding the grant Tuesday as no match is required to receive the funding. The deadline for submission is May 8 for funds that will be available from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, however, said he was concerned with how Carroll County's inclusion in the initiative could be maintained once grant funds are depleted.
"That's always a concern," DeLeonardo said. "[The grant] is recurring. … I will tell you this has been at least seven or eight years, and I also know that the governor is looking to commit resources to this process.
"It could disappear," said the state's attorney. "But I think anyone recognizes if we are trying to address [violent crime] ... this is a grant we could see for some time."