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New mobile police unit to visit Oakland Mills


In an effort to make Howard County police "more present and more responsive to the community's needs," the department's new Mobile Command Center will visit the Oakland Mills village tomorrow, said Chief James N. Robey.

Chief Robey announced the visit at a meeting Wednesday night with the village's community leaders about safety and crime prevention, but Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman, said yesterday the event was scheduled weeks ago and was not a direct response to the meeting.

"The point is to show off the Mobile Command Center while being more visible in the community," Sergeant Keller said. The command center visited the Owen Brown village two weeks ago and will visit other communities around the county until the end of September, he added.

Residents of county neighborhoods also can expect visits from county prosecutors this fall to discuss crime fighting, according to a plan developed by county State's Attorney Marna McLendon. The visits will allow communities to help set priorities for the prosecution of neighborhood crimes.

While the liaison program is still being developed, Oakland Mills residents can have their questions and concerns addressed by crime prevention and patrol officers and Capt. Richard Hall, the southern district commander, who will be stationed at the Mobile Command Center.

Crime likely will be on the minds of area residents because the visit comes on the heels of the Wednesday night discussion attended by police officers, elected officials and community leaders. Attendees sought remedies to reduce the vandalism, armed robberies, assaults, drug violations and thefts that have plagued the community this year.

Oakland Mills residents will be able to tour the 28-foot-long, $184,000 truck that Sergeant Keller likened to a portable police station.

The command center -- which was purchased in November to assist in emergencies as well as community activities -- is equipped with a camera-periscope that can rise 40 feet above the top of the truck, a videocassette recorder, a fax machine, scanners and a bathroom.

There also are workstations with desks, a dispatch area and a conference room with telephones.

The vehicle will be parked by the Oakland Mills Village Center on Robert Oliver Place from noon to 4 p.m.

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