Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sheriff High Hosts Governor O’Malley Reports on Warrants Closed with GOCCP Grant

Upper Marlboro, MD…Sheriff Melvin C. High and the Office of the Sheriff hosted Governor Martin O’Malley and County Executive Rushern Baker to announce the results of the Violent Offender Warrant Suppression (VOWS) operation that resulted in 596 arrests to dispose of more than 1,000 outstanding warrants. The three-month warrant sweep was funded by a $125,660 grant from the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) to arrest violent crime offenders.

The Governor praised the outstanding results of the operation, saying that Prince George’s County alone accounts for much of the state’s reduction in crime. On the matter of public safety O’Malley said, “There is no more important work that we do. If we can’t do this, none of the other stuff matters much.” Consistent with the O’Malley Administration’s core strategy, the GOCCP grant targeted violent crime offenders who represent the greatest danger to the community.

Sheriff High said the Governor’s assistance gave the warrant squad a boost because the grant’s focus on violent crime offenders was consistent with the first priority of the Sheriff’s warrant strategy - to get the most dangerous offenders off the streets.

The final results of the operation were 596 arrests to dispose of 1,128 total warrants, including murder, rape, robbery, burglary and drug offenses. Twenty-six of the arrests were for domestic violence related crimes and the Warrant Division placed 160 detainers against offenders found in other jurisdictions.

Recalling taking office, Sheriff High said. “We’ve been at this work of the Sheriff’s Office for three years now and we originally laid out a strategic plan with three elements that still work: Priority focus on violent offenders and staying current on newly issued warrants that come in at a rate of 2,000-2,500 a month. Doing those two things helps us do the third, which is to chip away at the warrant backlog.” A ‘warrants maintained’ chart on display at the press conference showed that the warrant backlog is down over 11,000 warrants since Sheriff High took office in 2010.

Sheriff High gave special recognition to the participating law enforcement partners, including Superintendent  Marcus Brown and the Maryland State Police, U.S. Marshall Service, Chief Magaw and the Prince George’s County Police Department, Director Mary L. McDonough and the Department of Corrections, the Office of Homeland Security, Chief Ayers - Capitol Heights, Chief Robshaw - Cheverly, Chief Gibson - Colmar Manor, Chief O’Donnell - Glenarden, Chief Craze – Greenbelt and Chief Rice of New Carrollton.
The Sheriff also thanked the Warrant Division – investigators and deputies – saying, “The work is dangerous. It requires a lot of knocking on a lot of doors and you simply don’t always know what’s behind the door.”

In closing, Sheriff High called public safety a collaborative effort of interdependent agencies. “That has been the County Executive’s vision and I’ve been heartened to see it realized over the last three years,” he said. “There is no substitute for partnerships that work to the benefit of citizen safety and this effort has proven that fact once again.”

State’s Attorney Alsobrooks, Chief Magaw and Chief Mike Gonnella, President of the Police Chiefs of Prince George’s County spoke about the importance of working together to make the community safer and crime reduction.

Delegate Joseph F. Vallario Jr., Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Clerk of the Court Bland and Chair of the County Council Public Safety & Fiscal Management Committee Toles also attended.

For more information contact the Communications and Public Affairs Division at 301-780-7354.

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