The Board of County Commissioners approved grant awards to fund new and existing positions at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The funding will support two existing positions through the Violence Against Women’s Act, and three new positions through the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network.
VAWA grants for $20,000 and $55,453 have been awarded to partially fund one of the records unit technician’s salaries at the Domestic Violence Unit at the Sheriff’s Office and the domestic violence prosecutor at the of the State’s Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Unit, respectively.
Signed into law on Sept. 13, 1994, VAWA was created in recognition of the severity of the crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, according to the United States Department of Justice website.
“The grant comes in every 25 years,” said Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo on Friday. “We continue to receive that grant — and the reason you get funding for something like that as long as you do is because, I believe, that you're able to see the effectiveness as well as the results that are generated from it.”
DeLeonardo said he believes VAWA efforts are important, and he created the SVU when he got to the State’s Attorney’s Office to handle not only domestic violence, but also sexual assault, child abuse and elder abuse.
“Those are victims that have a lot of various needs and demands,” he said. “Those cases are very important, and the victims in those cases need a lot more resources. What this allows us to do, it gives us a prosecutor that is funded and exclusively dedicated to handling those kinds of cases.”
Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees said his office also gets the grant annually and that “it supports deputies and administrative staff with entering protective orders into databases and ensures they are served in a timely manner to protect those that need relief from the domestic violence.”
In addition to these awards, the Sheriff’s and State’s Attorney’s offices were also awarded funds through the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network to create three new positions.
The grant — which comes from the Governor’s Office of Crime, Control and Prevention — is awarding the offices $291,401 to support an analyst position at the CCSO and both an analyst and prosecutor position at the CCSAO in addition to overtime and equipment.
MCIN, a data-sharing system that connects state-funded initiatives from various counties and cities, was organized to complement Gov. Larry Hogan’s measures against gang-related crimes out of Baltimore City.
In participating in the network, Carroll County can lend its law enforcement and prosecutors to assist in targeting entire criminal enterprises.
“The grant supports deputies and attorneys in targeting gangs that work in a larger network throughout the region,” DeWees said this week. “We’ll be able to identify the network through intelligence gathering and collaboration with agencies throughout the region so that we can arrest and prosecute more effectively.”
And DeLeonardo said that in collaboration with the other counties involved in MCIN — Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Frederick counties — information on individuals involved in crimes in Carroll can be linked to crimes they might have been involved with in other jurisdictions to get a better idea of the larger criminal networks in the state.
“What you find,” DeLeonardo said, “is we are able to identify, as well as proactively investigate and prosecute, those organizations by getting more information about exactly who's in the organizations and how they’re operating.”
He said he hopes to see positive results from the MCIN grants as well, as they can also be awarded annually to support the positions.