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Month: December 2012 Page 1 of 4

Rethinking City’s Contract Police Program

Off duty police officers of Prince George’s Police department serve in College Park contract police program

The Council will discuss renewing an agreement with the Prince George’s Police on City’s contract police program on next Wednesday’s Council worksession.

Before I talk about the future direction of the contract police program, here is a brief background of the program that staff has prepared for us.

The City began its current contract police program in 2004, with the assistance of Chief Magaw when he was District One Commander. He helped us get County approval of an MOU to hire PGPD officers, authorizing them to work part time secondary employment with the City as contract police officers. He recommended and recruited Lt. Keleti to work as our scheduling and supervising officer for our part time contract officers. Lt. Keleti still fills that role for the City, and, in addition, now schedules part-time officers employed by the City to review our speed camera citations. A pool of thirty (30) officers is currently available to fill part time shifts. They are scheduled to provide the approximate equivalent of 7.5 full time officers. With services like family sponsorship Canada, such opportunities are now within hand’s reach.

We expanded our contract police program in 2008, when Assistant Chief Davis was District One Commander. He assisted in getting the Police Services Agreement between the City and County approved for us to reimburse the County for the assignment of three (3) full-time officers to our contract program. District One command staff supervises our three full time contract officers. The same chain of command also supervises COPS officers working in College Park.

Under the contract, officers who work part-time are paid for hours worked only. The City pays all salary and overhead costs for the three officers who the County assigns to work full time as part of our service agreement. These costs include annual leave, holidays, training days, etc. The full time officers, although not as cost effective as the part time officers, were added to the program as a means to make staffing the program more consistent and maintain patrols schedules more predictably and reliably. As part time City contract officers are full time PGPD officers, there are times when the County may require them to work mandatory overtime. During those times, officers are may be held over for emergencies or for special assignment work; at those times it may not be possible to reschedule another officer to cover that shift. Having the three full time officers assigned to the City helps cover times when part time officers may not be available to work for the City.

The City funds the contract police program at $1,185,861 for FY13. The County bills the City semi-annually for the services provided by the Police Services Agreement. (Some lag time in the County billing results in payment for services not exactly coinciding with the City’s fiscal year budget process.) With the combined full and part time contract officers we add the equivalent of approximately 10.5 officers to supplement the PGPD beat, special squad (SAT, RST, etc.), aviation, and COPS officers assigned to College Park. In addition, UMPD/DPS, MSP, MNCPPC, and Metro Transit police patrol in areas of concurrent jurisdiction in the City. Although the MOU and Services Agreement with the County anticipate these City contract officers will be supplemental officers, they often respond to backup the beat officers dispatched to 9-1-1 service calls, and are often first on the scene. They have significantly increased the number of traffic stops and field observations in College Park, often resulting in arrests for warrants, DUI, etc.

Staff is recommending the continuance of the use the contract police program to enhance police visibility and services citywide. They believe our contract police program is a very good component of total police services provided in College Park, and look forward to continued improvement of the program.

That said, I personally think it’s time to rethink the future of the entire contract police program. The cost of the contract police program has more than doubled since it started in 2004. We are spending about 10% of our budget on the program, yet residents know very little about the program, per this survey. Given the increasing cost of the program, I think we ought to think other cost effective alternatives of the program, such as expanding concurrent jurisdiction of University of Maryland Police, introducing ambassador police program or even having City’s own police department. I hope to write more about these alternatives in separate posts in future.

Missing UMD Student Found Dead

A University of Maryland student who had been missing since Dec. 19 was found dead inside his vehicle nearly 10 days after his disappearance. Around 10 p.m. Friday, Prince George’s police discovered David Johnathan Scherr, 20, unresponsive inside his Ford Escape parked near Route 197 and Route 450. He was pronounced dead on scene.

The Class of 2014 UM student was a graduate of Pikesville High School in Baltimore County.

Council to Propose New Parking Zone for near Greenbelt Metro

Proposed Lackawanna / 53rd Parking Zone

After we discussed the parking situation near Greenbelt metro station in September 14 session, the Council will discuss the issue again in next Wednesday’s worksession.

Some residents who reside at the East end of Lackawanna Street are asking us to consider establishing a new residential parking permit restricted zone.

The residents are concerned about other residents from the existing Zone 3 who park their cars near the East end of Lackawanna Street to be closer to the Metro. The complainants also are concerned about commuters who use the streets near the intersection of 53rd Avenue and Lackawanna Street, and the dead end section, as a “Kiss and Ride” drop off and pick up spot for the Metro station.

Based on the residents’ feedback, we’re proposing the new zone to include a part of Lackawanna St (between 52nd and 53rd) and a part of 53rd Avenue (between 52nd and Lackawanna).

Following September 14 worksession,  we discussed this issue at North College Park Civic Association’s October 11 meeting. The NCPCA members adopted a resolution unanimously supporting the proposed zone.

Please see the new proposed zone in the left map (shown in green).

Year 2012 in Review

As another year passes and we embark upon a new one, I thought I would write a post to share some of important events in our neighborhood and my activities as your Council member in 2012.

On the Council, I supported the FY2013 budget that does not ask for an increase in any kind of tax, fees or fines from our residents. Instead we added more services for our residents. We added 100,000 for an additional full time police officer, 80,000 for the new middle and high school (College Park Academy), 25,000 to attract for environmentally friendly businesses, and 20,000 for noise enforcement.

We also worked to fund four license plate readers at the Edgewood / Rhode Island intersection. These devices have been effective in other areas of the City in enabling the police to resolve crimes and catch criminals. I have also supported a contract to replace the wooden guardrail along Narragansett Parkway with a new one.

With my colleagues on the Council, I supported the formation of the neighborhood stabilization group in order to help improve the quality of life in our neighborhood. This came after the Council decided to put its rent stabilization ordinance on hold for a year, in the hopes of working collaboratively with a residents, landlords, students and other  stakeholders to look at alternative ways to address the issues that the rent stabilization ordinance was intended to address.

I have also supported a marketing plan to promote the City as the best place to live and do business.

We have also witnessed two great events taking place in our neighborhood. In the past summer, a brand new skate park was opened in  Sunnyside. This should be a great opportunity for young residents to practice skills, participate in healthy outdoor activity and have fun. After a long wait, we have also seen traffic signals at the Edgewood Rd and Rhode Island Avenue operational this year. Thanks to the hard work of many residents, City and County Council members to make  the Skate Park and traffic signal projects successful.

Like in the past several years, I also organized neighborhood cleanups in summer, College Park Day in Fall and a winter clothing drive every December.

Upcoming Trash and Leaf collection Schedule

Leaf Season

The City offices were closed on December 24 and 25.Thus Wednesday’s trash collection will happen tomorrow.

Also, the City will be closed January 1st. Special or bulk trash pickups will ONLY be made on Friday, January 4. The trash/recycling collection for the week will be as follows:

Monday routes: Monday – 12/31
Tuesday routes: Wednesday – 1/2
Wednesday routes: Thursday – 1/3

Also, please note the leaf collection schedule in our area:
December 27 and January 4: Rhode Island avenue East,
January 3: Rhode Island Avenue west

Police Recovers Drugs and Money Following Shooting

Prince George's Police

In case you have heard of a gunshot incident at an apartment complex near IKEA early today, here is what happened.

A suspect was apparently attempting to force entry into the apartment when the occupant fired gunshots toward the front door at which time the “suspect” returned fire. Both the occupant and the “suspect” fled.

Responding officers discovered that the residence appeared to be being utilized for a large scale drug distribution operation. While checking the unit for possible victims, the officers observed several large plastic bags of marijuana packaged in 7 large boxes as well as several loose bags throughout the apartment. The officers also observed over $16,000.00 in US Currency and a magazine from a semi-automatic pistol. Several shell casing were recovered from the scene.

There was no evidence observed to indicate that anyone was actually struck by gunfire. Police took custody of the marijuana and currency pending further investigation.

Thanks to our police for a job well done.

NCP Crime Stats: Dec 19- 24, 2012

Please see below last week’s crime stats of our area. The assault incident near IKEA (9100 Milestone way) appears to be resulted from a room mate dispute. The Friday’s incident on Edgewood and Rhode Island is still under investigation. I will let you know once we find more information.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

[mappress mapid=”94″]
Date of
Time of

12/17/20121140THEFT9300 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
12/17/20121217THEFT FROM AUTO4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
12/17/20121936AUTO, RECOVERED9900 Blk 52ND PL
12/19/20121232ASSAULT9600 Blk MILESTONE WAY
12/19/20121846THEFT4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
12/19/20121926AUTO, STOLEN9800 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
12/23/2012835THEFT FROM AUTO4700 Blk CHEROKEE ST
12/23/20121737THEFT FROM AUTO5000 Blk INDIAN LN
12/24/2012558B & E, COMMERCIAL4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
12/24/20121310THEFT9100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE

The Shock and Worry after Friday’s Incident

John Frank Jenkins - Suspect arrested in in connection with Friday's incident

Last Friday’s pipe bomb incident may be over, but it has sent a shock and worry to many in the neighborhood.

Families with small children live on several houses next the site of the incident. I met a resident living very close to the house where the explosive device was found. For good reason, he too was very shaken.

“The explosion happened only several feet from my window.” – he told me with visible concerns on his face. On Friday night, I called our community police officer and have him talk to him. I found him settled a bit after he talked.

Here are a little more I’ve found that I’ve not reported earlier.

From eye witness account, the police came to the Edgewood Rd. scene little after midnight, very early in the early morning. Police car could be seen to block the road.

The explosive device was located near a white van around 4 a.m. The “hazardous device” is currently pending results of a lab test.

Also, John Frank Jenkins, 28, who was arrested and charged with two felony counts of manufacture or possession of a destructive device faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

County Crime Figures Hit Historic Low

Good news. Crime in Prince George’s County is down for the first time in many years, said Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw, in a press conference last Wednesday.

The conference was also attended by Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks.

The most celebrated reduction was the number of homicides recorded in the county which decreased from 95 for all of last year to 61 so far this year.

Last year, the County had 3,800 victims of crime. This year, the county had 3,200 crime victims, which is a drop of 600 victims,

A total of 29,135 crimes were recorded through Monday of this year compared to the 31,375 crimes recorded through all of last year, according to data provided by a county police spokesman.

In other categories, the number of assaults recorded this year is at 2,422 compared to 2,597 last year. Car thefts, which have historically been a problem across the county, were down to 4,294 incidents this year compared to 5,045 incidents for all of last year.

In 2012, crime declined in the following areas:

  • overall violent crime, down 7.6 percent;
  • overall property crime, 7.1 percent;
  • overall total crime, 7.1 percent or about 2,240 incidents;
  • homicides, 35.5 percent;
  • robberies, 8.5 percent;
  • burglaries, 19 percent;
  • stolen cars, 14.9 percent; and
  • non-fatal shootings, 12 percent.

Suspect Arrested in NCP Bomb Incident

In yesterday’s bomb incident, police made its first arrest.

The NBC Washington is reporting that at 10:30 a.m., investigators executed a search warrant at a house in the 9000 block of Rhode Island Avenue near Blackfoot Place in College Park. According to the report, a resident of that home – 28-year-old John Frank Jenkins – was arrested and charged with two felony counts of manufacture or possession of a destructive device. No hazardous devices were found in the home.

The Blackfoot / Rhode Island incident could be potentially related to Edgewood one, as in the Edgewood incident, a bomb was discovered and deactivated, whereas in the Blackfoot/Rhode Island incident, a person was arrested on the charge of “manufacture or possession of a destructive device”. The two incidents happened just in about 3 hours period.

When I spoke with Police information officer Mark Brady this morning at 9 am, he also told me that the Edgewood incident could be potentially related to another College Park pipe bomb incident that happened at 48th avenue, south of Greenbelt road, on this past Tuesday. You can find more information about that incident here:

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