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Monday, February 2, 2015

Part 1 ~ Letter to Politicians Concerning Recent Violent Crime in Cumberland, Maryland

Dear Elected and Appointed Officials:

First, I will state that I am both a homeowner and a resident of Cumberland, Maryland.

I am writing to you so that you will be abundantly aware of the increase in crime in our area, most especially violent crime, illicit drug crimes, and coordinated gang activity.

I will also qualify myself by simply stating that I have earned a degree in science with a major in Police Science, as well as having been honorably published by The United Stated Department of Energy in October of 2010, and lastly corresponding with the honorable Jim Moran of Virginia in the past concerning the sniper shootings in the Washington Metropolitan area.

This was the original link (no longer active) to The United States Department of Energy:
...and the contents of that publication may still be read here:

I pray today you take this plea seriously and will do your due diligence as expected by your constituents, and read the links thoroughly that I will provide alongside and herein to this letter I am writing to you today.

I will also state now that I am publishing this correspondence as well at my blog site to insure the transparency that I expect from all elected officials, and hope that I may hear a reply in short order from you each.

In the past I have had many excellent replies to my letters and publications and I like to share those facts with the general public here and abroad so that I may pave a way for others to follow in voicing the same sentiments.

I will first include a few links that have been well received through my blog. In these links you will find documentation pictured. at times, from elected and/or appointed officials that I have reached out to then, as I am doing today once again asking for your assistance.

I do not choose purposely to be long winded, however I will take the space required to make my points and site sources, examples, and any other material I find so fitting so that you will be left with no doubt about the allegations, accusations, or issues I may discuss openly here. I like to think of these exercises not much unlike writing a research paper, so that I have removed any guess work or speculation, and can offer quick documentation so that I convey as articulate an argument and plea to you each as possible.

In October 2010, again, I was honored to be published by The United States Department of Energy for my cutting edge ideas about the Green Era revolution we are in the midst of today and my thoughts on how this will revolutionize the marketplace for all political parties, removing the divisiveness of the issue of causation and illustrating why moving forward as we have would be good for the planet and the economy regardless of what the cause of climate change may be.

I will also state that since I was 18, I have been a registered Republican, but I am a flexible citizen voting my conscience in regards to the times of any said election, and I do not play party lines, but rather use logic to dictate to me where my vote shall be cast. I am open minded, outspoken, well read and educated, and I do not accept a snails pace of change when emergency measures are required, and I know that that is once again the time upon us right now, this very moment as you read this, today!

When I say again, I will leave a link here so you may see for yourself where I was instrumental, along with a strong local collective, in emergency measures here at home to outlaw Bath Salts well before many other jurisdictions. I studied the science well and fully understood what we were up against and researched every facet of this issue and continue to stay on top of those details today as a vigilant citizen. Ultimately, our collective here at home, a bi-partisan collective I will add, was successful in very quickly making changes where they were needed, which undoubtedly saved both lives and money, not to mention valuable time and resources that have been able to be used elsewhere.

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2012/05/legal-weed-bath-salts-death-and-suicide.html

There you will see a letter to and from Senator Barbara Mikulski, a video where myself and others spoke at a county meeting, the petition I started at that time, and a lot of research to peruse. The petition mentioned previously was signed by the Allegany County Commissioner Mike McKay of Maryland (now Delegate McKay - Md.), as well as States Attorney Michael Twigg, and many others, be they citizens or public servants. The link to that petition follows.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/819/863/025/

You may also peruse my correspondence with Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia from 2002 and its full content at this link:

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-comment-to-httpnewsyahoocomsnmusjapa.html

Lastly, the above links as well as this one have been my most viewed blog publication to date, receiving over 50,000 readings and counting. Sadly it is not more, but it is enough to accomplish goals in quick order for our city here in Cumberland, Maryland and abroad while working alongside others.

One of my most widely read publications is as follows, and was quite ahead of its time. Forgive me if some work appears less polished then others, as I write on a time permitting basis, and often these entries are still undergoing further edits and additions. You may also notice the name MobiusTripz, and that is my name that I utilize for writing as well as recording music.

Philosophy of Law Enforcement Pre 9/11 versus Philosophy of Law Enforcement Post 9/11

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2012/02/law-enforceme-my-point-is-from-my.html

Often times, what I have published from original dedicated research and years of thought and my education, are things I have never seen in the news, but quickly see in print (or web form) after I have published. I state this only to say that I am often visionary as I am concerned about the legacy that we leave today for the children that will surely follow us.

I was raised in Alexandria, Virginia, as my Father was stationed at The Pentagon. He is a retired Colonel and a graduate of West Point, 1952. I was fortunate to have a role model as him, as well as my older brother, a West Point graduate also, class of 1982.

I state the above only to say that since I moved to Cumberland, Maryland in 2002 I have learned what it means to grow up without those role models in life, without the opportunities that it offers, and fully understand today how difficult it truly is for children to have a real chance at a future that is promising, as all children should have. I was truly and honestly naive before my experience here as far as having any real experience with what I now understand to be the lower socio-economic echelon in which I live today. I am poor by every standard financially defined today, unlike how I was raised, and this experience is grounding and humbling. I am rich in the ways I choose, and that is living a life where I choose, how I choose, in the pursuit of happiness so guaranteed to us each in our Bill of Rights. I am dis-abled and an artist, struggling as artists do, and I will always stand up for what I believe in and make my voice and that voice of the local citizens heard. I hope others may reach out to you as well, but honestly, many do not have the time or means to do so, nor do they know how to utilize the resources and/or articulate their thoughts clearly. What I will state from here and further is the consensus of the citizens here in good standing however, and you can speak to the locals when you visit, as I expect you will very soon, and see for yourself. I will also include newspaper articles of recent and past events, as well as other correspondence from local officials.

I will be attending a class through the local police department concerning police and the community and very much look forward to that when it starts. I also have a plan that I have shared with many officials that is quite Orwellian in nature, but something that must be considered deeply, and it can be read at this link, therefore preventing me from typing all of my thoughts out again.

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2015/01/proposal-for-preventing-prosecuting.html

With my basic background out of the way, I will now paint a picture of daily life in Cumberland with regards and concern to the increase in crime, in particularly, violent, drug, and gang crimes.

We have had a "rash" of local fire arm discharges, stabbings, a stabbing death, robberies, burglaries, strong armed invasions, and drug activity.

Rather then writing a plethora of paragraphs I will simply share links herein, once again, so that you may read these events as reported by outside entities for yourself.

Here are the two most recent events very dire in nature:

http://www.times-news.com/news/two-stabbed-one-dead-in-east-first-street-incident-suspect/article_49273214-a883-11e4-9147-af179ba122fe.html

http://www.times-news.com/news/police-female-taxi-driver-stabbed-suspect-fled/article_f41c2f74-aa1f-11e4-91c3-074c6978fe01.html

Here is another recent story where a threat was made to stab another.

http://www.times-news.com/news/woman-threatens-man-with-knife/article_01cd8492-aa61-11e4-9fb2-af6f7027b8c0.html

Here are a few links where shots were fired and investigated:

http://www.times-news.com/news/c-i-investigating-gunshot-stabbing-incidents/article_3e630cc2-86cd-11e4-8fad-c7c1d1367216.html

These both happened on my street or very close by to my home, typically a rather quiet neighborhood until recently.

http://www.times-news.com/news/police-chase-shots-fired-complaints-at-city-locations/article_b238bc26-a173-11e4-9b78-3389df8b2bb9.html

There is a recent incident (6 weeks or less) where a car was allegedly shot as it sat parked on Waverly Terrace, however I am not able to find this on :Google", but you may got to Facebook and in the search bar type "Cumberland After dark", and you will find it on that page.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cumberland-After-Dark/1421264661475608

I recently resigned my position at a local law firm here in the city, as my health has been historically very poor and I was unable to continue regular employment that was on a temporary or trial basis, as I hoped to return to the workforce. My point is, I am quite familiar with the legal system from the Police Science perspective I studied, The court system which I have worked within to a degree, and the corrections ()also which I studied).

We have a massive failure here locally (as well as abroad but my focus is locally) where the excellent police department(s) here do their jobs very diligently, and as it appears through research (Maryland Judiciary Case  Search) far too many criminals are sent through the revolving door here locally, not serving much if any time, often having charges dropped or nolle prosequi, etc. and it is a failing to the citizens here locally on a wholesale level.

Here is a perfect case in point I documented very well. I have already included this link, however if you open this link again and scroll until you see the first picture, the particulars of this exact type of example (and possible reasons I speculate for it from experience) are detailed preceding the picture.

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2012/02/law-enforceme-my-point-is-from-my.html

The citizens here are sick and tired of criminals not serving much if any time and / or being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, as the law provides. It is fully understood that first time (especially non-violent) offenders may have a lighter sentence, but that is not what I am speaking of here. This happens all the time with hardened criminals with very long records, and it happens over and over again and is the expected "norm" locally, which does nothing but state to these criminals that they will never be punished, which serves as no deterrent what so ever in these instances. Simply ask any local official, county or city official, and local law enforcement officers, as well as any citizen, and you can easily ascertain this fact for yourself!

What can we now expect from The State's Attorneys Office in the future? As we demand a change in the way things are currently being conducted!

I have to declare I am not a huge fan of incarceration, as corrections to often fails to "correct" the wrong doers, but I am much less a fan of sending these repeat offenders right back into our city and area where they further escalate their criminal activities, often resulting in violence and even sometimes, as recently, death.

When bail / bond can be set much higher, why do we set them too often so very low, and most especially with violent and / or repeat offenders?

Our citizens deserve better then this! We demand better then this! We will be planning a public meeting to discuss these important issues at hand, and we also will have a petition in hand as well. I hope you each will consider attending and sharing your support with our city. It is up to you to respond in kind to our requests here at home, so that we may take back out city we feel is being so infringed upon! Each one of you reading this that holds an elected office today has that responsibility to us as an oath you took to uphold, and your future in politics hangs in the very balance of the actions you take to help us take back our city and place criminals where they belong, for long sentences when so justified.

There is also local discussion of a three strikes law, and I have no problem proposing such legislation with strong backing if I do not see immediate action here locally that curbs these events efficiently.

We may even have to change local tactics concerning law enforcement, however, I feel that that is always an evolving art withing the science and is an active and ongoing evolution as the times so dictate.

Their is a system in place in our politics that must be followed. The local level politicians urge us to reach out to you all for help to voice these concerns because at their position there is only so much they can truly do. In particular, again, I am speaking about the failings of the States Attorney's Office and the local commissioners and judges. We will certainly do our part locally, however, there needs to be something from the state trickling down, in order to make quick, efficient, effective change that lets us take the reigns of control back more quickly on those levels. We need cohesive coordinated efficient action.

How do you think law enforcement feels when they risk life and limb daily only to deal with the same criminals time and time again? I ask every single one of you to contemplate their perspective, and that same of their families!

How do you think the citizens feel when they know the criminal that has harmed them or a friend or family member is right back "out on the streets" and doing exactly the same thing they have been doing all along, ...again?

Locally we are also talking about tougher landlord policy, better code enforcement, demolishing more abandoned properties, etc., but again, we can only do so much at a local level and need help from the state, which I am clearly spelling out for you herein and demanding within reason a response in a reasonable amount of time.

I have many friends that are writers for many publications, be it a local paper, a blogger friend, or The Washington Post, etc., and my goal is to let these examples within this letter /blog be scrutinized so that we may share our collective ideas and take swift action.

Here are examples of the press we do not take lightly, and so plan to do something about !!!

Here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we understand that a home search can be stressful, especially when it comes to safety concerns. Because of that, we’ve taken the time to examine FBI data and have determined the safest and least safe places in the state of Maryland. Today we're focusing on the latter, the 10 most dangerous locations in the state:
1. Town of Elkton
2. City of Baltimore
3. Town of Bladensburg
4. Town of Ocean City
5. City of Cambridge
6. City of Salisbury
7. City of Cumberland
8. City of Mount Rainier
9. City of Hyattsville
10. City of Westminster

http://www.movoto.com/md/most-dangerous-places-in-maryland/

http://www.times-news.com/news/city-officials-cumberland-s-crime-rating-misleading/article_b223f2b4-4b2e-11e4-af26-6f1fd6dc9f7a.html

Our city is very rich in history and heritage and shows tremendous progress as we are swiftly moving forward with excellent leadership, a growing tax base and economy, new businesses locating locally, and expanding tourism (Allegany County fastest growing tourism in the state - 2014). We host the finest Blue Grass festival (Del Fest) in the entire United States, as well known in the Blue Grass community. We are one terminus of The C and O Canal, with the other being Washington D.C.

I grew up in the Mt. Vernon section of Alexandria, Virginia in a home built on what was once George Washington's farm land, in the Collingwood sub-division. General Washington saw the strategic advantage and beauty of Cumberland and we should all work very hard to preserve that sanctity further and restore this city to the dominant city it once was in The Industrial Age.

Changing gears, concerning "gangs" locally, they do exist although most residents may not believe it. Simply read these article here and you will see that it is a well known fact, and to further that fact, the illicit drug trade here is strong and growing, as we are roughly equi-distant from Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. We have an Interstate that connects us well to all, but at the same token in a drug gateway for distribution. The gangs are both local and national level gangs.

"In a Feb. 13, 2009 article in the Cumberland Times, Cumberland (Md.) Police Cpl. Andrew Tichnell and Sgt. David Biser said national gangs in Cumberland include the Bloods, Crips, and now a small showing of the MS-13. Local gangs include the Southside Soldiers, Wise Guys, Murder Posse, Latin Kings and Black Guerrilla Family. Showing a picture of a young man, a recent arrival from Los Angeles, Tichnell said, "This is the real deal. He brought the philosophy, the lifestyle from Los Angeles, and he's teaching our kids the way of life."

http://www.policemag.com/blog/gangs/story/2010/04/facing-the-facts-of-gang-denial.aspx

and...

http://www.times-news.com/city-gang-activity-a-bigger-problem-than-most-think/article_5164a57b-b39a-5e63-a37d-a6713c408fa6.html

I have the utmost confidence in our local and state law enforcement, however how can they effectively do their job when their hands are tied by a court system that is a revolving door? Why should these fine men and women put their lives on the line daily, repeatedly, dealing with the same criminals released on bonds that are too small, having served no or little sentences, and not being adjudicated to the maximum allowed by law, especially when having long records?

We also have local, state and federal jails and prisons here as "big industry", and we want to insure that criminals, upon release, are brought back to their previous locations (home) and not released here locally. There is no doubt that this industry has a direct, and negative in many aspects, impact on our city as well.

I will close with this quote from our local City Mayor, Brian Grim. This is from a thread on facebook:

"Citizens have to demonstrate a failed judicial branch in order to give them a nudge. My comments are as far as I can really go as an elected official. But, I recommend...

1) Contact Delegate Buckel and tell him you support a three-strikes law for
violent offenders in Maryland. He's an advocate on this issue, but he will face stiff opposition by metro-area legislators on such a change.

2) Write letters to local media and express your disappointment with the judicial system, including specifically the Court Commissioners, Judges and States' Attorney's office.

3) Contact the Governor's Office and ask that he stand up for policies that will stem the flow of drugs and increase the penalties for both drug related and violent crimes for repeat offenders. Ask specifically, that funding for the Safe Streets Initiative be significantly increased!

4) Organize a large, public display. Make it very clear to everybody that Cumberland citizens take this issue seriously and we will not stand for it. I'll join you. 


The judicial system as well as the legislators who write the laws have to hear from you in as many methods and with as loud of a voice as possible. With the state legislature in session now, there can be no delay. Act and speak now!"

As well as this quote from Seth Bernard: 

"
As someone who was elected by the people, I feel that it is important to keep an open dialogue between government, and its citizens. It is an unfortunate reality that, as a community, we are having to deal with a criminal element that is taking advantage of the growing drug problem in our area. Most importantly, I can promise you that your city officials, including myself, are taking this very seriously, and are wholly dedicated to keeping our community safe. We have an outstanding police department who continues to work their butts off attempting to stay on top of these matters.
Overall-crime in our city is down, but in the age of social media, we are more and more aware of incidents as they are happening, often, in real time. The bad news is that drug-related crimes are beginning to increase; the good news is our community is outraged, and we are not willing to accept this as our future.
It is my mission to sit down with those who are involved with public safety, such as the Chief of Police, as well as the 4 other members of our city council, to address the fact that the drug problem in our community is growing, and will not go away on its own. The bottom line is, we HAVE to get more serious about this.
There are so many positive changes that are happening in our city, with so much more to come. In my nearly 3 decades living here, I have never been so hopeful about our city's future. This is why I am personally determined to make sure that we remain proactive with our public safety issues, always staying two steps ahead of this growing drug problem.
I know for a fact that the majority of our citizens care about Cumberland's future, and that is why I wanted to address this issue publicly. As a community, we cannot passively accept these drug crimes. As a community, we need to stand up against this, because complacency is not an option. And we cannot let the fear and alarmist dialogue seep into our daily routine, because that only seeks to destroy the progress that is being made.
Again, I am telling you that I, along with my fellow colleagues on the council, are, and will continue to be, 110% dedicated to this city's safety and its future.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...”

- Teddy Roosevelt

Again, I must urge you each to study each link carefully, or you will only see a partial picture, out of focus, and not worthy of this request.  



I appreciate your time, and again, I beg of you to do your due diligence and study this letter and its links carefully, as well as invite you to our beautiful city so you can meet our fine citizens and engage in an active dialog, especially about these issues herein.

John S. Swygert

Cumberland, Maryland


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Latest Corresponding new Blog Entry ~ Added below, and may be viewed separately at the link.

Thus far, since my recent blog posting and letter to many local and state officials as well as the law enforcement community, I have had some excellent feedback that I will publish here, as well as at the end of my recent blogs (as an edition and noted as such from the original) and I think most importantly it will paint a better picture of the reasoning for how criminal cases, in particular are being dealt with on a local level, as well as the multiple prongs of this issue and how we will have to address many prongs or facets in order to have any final real accomplishments in these regards.

Those, that I do personally quote within from our own correspondence, have given me full authority to do so, and I hope the information they have shared with me, that I am in turn sharing with you, is indeed worthy of propelling the current conversation forward so that we as a community can seek efficient answers and push harder for support and funding from all entities that may be able to help us.

I will also share quotes and entire articles of recent, published after my letter was first published as a specific catalyst to open this conversation and make others aware, so that the readership may get a well rounded education on which to form their own opinions, formulate their own letters to officials, and share with the rest of us their support and ideas or consideratijns that we all need to hear moving forward against this huge task.

Timing is of the essence and in order to save you time I have, at the end of this letter / blog, include local emails which I suggest we all write to and ask for this support and funding that we will be seeking as we all brainstorm together and formulate a definitive plan to help combat the recent rise in violent and drug related crimes.

Think about this, if Allegany County has a population of 75,000 peopl, would you pay a yearly earmarked tax of $ 25 just for this cause, well aware that that would immediately raise $1,875,000.00 in order to accomplish these goals set forth? I would pay an addition $ 100 if I ken for sure all of that money was, again, specifically ear marked for that purpose. Would you volunteer to raise additional funds, because it will take great funding in order to have an effect in these regards. Should the overage of expected funding from the Rocky Gap Casino and Resort go towards these expenditures? Where do we find the influx of cash so needed in the face of crime we cannot and will not tolerate? What do you suggest as a real means to this end?

We must demand that the Local, County, and State meet the requests of funding and help, otherwise, we will surely only see the trend worsen, and you will see by the graph within where we stand by data collected a few years ago, which has only gotten worse since, and how the trend is indeed moving swiftly upward in a very poor direction, as well as what the logistics are and reasons for making this an even tougher problem for us locally, as we are simply short handed in several aspects.

There needs to be better education, prevention, prosecutions, and corrections, in these cases as well, as to address only one area will indeed let the other areas be overlooked where they will further falter and merely allow for an even greater increases.

This is a huge socio-economic issue, which should come as no surprise. This is also a huge issue due specifically to the economy and all governments agencies being very shorthanded in funding, mostly due to the poor measures taken concerning austerity.

What I have learned thus far in short order is one very important factor. I am enclosing a graph compiled by Micheal Twigg, State's Attorney's Office of Maryland, and it is from data compiled from the UCR (Uniform Crime Report ~ F.B.I ~ 2013), and it is it self quite telling.

I will publish the graph, and then I will explain how to read it for those that may be unfamiliar with information printed and shared as such.

His, Mike Twigg's, entire response (for transparency) is as follows and is a direct and prompt reply from this publication I shared with him the same day I printed it on my blog, so you may read the preceding correspondence here first to be fully informed.

http://mountainmaryland.blogspot.com/2015/02/letter-to-politicians-concerning-recent.html

Below is his response:

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Steve,

Thank you for the letter.  I agree that we have to address this problem as soon as possible from all fronts.  While I don't believe that we can arrest our way out of this problem it can certainly help in keeping a lid on it.  I think that in order to truly address this crime wave we need a plan that not only addresses criminals but also the underlying causes of crime like poor economic conditions throughout the country.

We are doing what we can here but I think that it is important to know some of the facts about crime in this county.  For example, Allegany County Circuit Court has seen a dramatic increase in criminal filings from 2011 (805 cases) to 2013 (1029 cases).  Additionally, our District Court routinely has as many cases filed in it comparable to counties twice the size of ours.  A review of UCR statistics (FBI Uniform Crime Reporting) shows that Allegany County has the highest number of UCR reported cases per prosecuting attorney throughout the State (330 per prosecutor).  Here is a chart that I put together with the information that is available online.  I was not able to get the numbers from Baltimore and PG county but you can see where we rank.

CountyPopulation*AttorneysAttorney to Population Ratio2013 UCR ReportingAttorney to UCR Crime Rate Ratio

Allegany75,087893862,637330
Anne Arundel537,6564611688
Baltimore City
Baltimore805,209
Calvert 88,7371273951,742145
Caroline33,066482671,013253
Carroll167,1342083572,684134
Cecil 101,1081191923,311301
Charles146,55113112734,115317
Dorchester32,618565241,120224
Frederick233,38522106084,740215
Garrett30,097310032700233
Harford244,8262790684,725175
Howard287,0853095706,751225
Kent20,19736732401134
Montgomery971,777821185118,038220
Prince George’s863,42033,058#DIV/0!
Queen Anne’s47,7985961192
Somerset26,4706441258598
St. Mary’s105,15110105152,744274
Talbot37,78249446737184
Washington147,4301881913,492194
Wicomico98,7331854853,872215
Worchester51,454957172,333259
Bottom line is that all of the agencies in our county are feeling the strain of this.  I am currently gathering other statistics to show how much stress this county is truly under and intend to present those at my budget hearing next month.  The entire county needs more resources to address this problem.  My fear is finding places where we can get that assistance.  I hope that your correspondence begins the dialog of how to attack this problem from many angles and get back to the standard of living that we all remember in this community.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.

Mike

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What is clear to see is our ranking overall in Allegany County compared to other counties, our comparison per capita to criminal cases filed in our county, and our attorneys assigned to our case load to handle the volume of cases as stated.

We will be fortunate to add attorneys dedicated to specific regions to our arsenal but need to pave a clear and precise case when requesting these funds as well as think creatively in ways in which we can raise additional funding and even transition funds in the budget to these areas, as we are of course in a very tight season, for years now, concerning the budget at every level, be it locally, state wide, or nationally.

These are a few current considerations that are true and surfacing through my research, communications and responses, and interviews and that is why I am sharing them here. This is not mere speculation.

Mr. Twigg's answer is very specific and from his point of view as a professional, it shares some very poignant information that is one very serious point we all need to address as we ask for funding and support moving forward. I will use no further words, as his response was more then sufficient to illustrate that there is a shortcoming of attorneys in our area.

In speaking with Jake Shade, he too assured me, in greater detail, that there is indeed some thought in planning that is going to be discussed very soon about certain jurisdictions, and I find it exciting to see we will be moving forward through not just the city of Cumberland, but throughout the county as well in areas of increased violent and drug related crime. I will report more specific details here as I am able to do so.

I have also had very candid conversation recently with Seth Bernard as well as (less recently through no fault of hers but me being short on time) Nicole Alt Myers.

What I can tell you is that everyone I have spoken with thus far, and the list is much larger, is ready to swiftly move forward and address these issues, however what I can state is that thus far we are in a preliminary and brainstorming stage, and more letters, thoughts, and ideas would be helpful, if they share substance that can contribute to the overall goal we are focusing on, which is crime prevention and better prosecution in our entire area.

I have been very fortunate to have an open line of communication to all of our local and several state officials in Maryland and highly respect that from them each. Many of these folks are my friends, some are acquaintances, and others I am just getting to know and vice-versa. What I can state is that they are responsive, understanding, and working hard for the constituents. We are fortunate to have bright, dedicated, motivated individuals that represent us, and they want to hear from us, the citizens, and I will again include a list of emails at the end of this update to my recent publication.

I urge you again, citizens of my readership and beyond, to be vocal locally where you reside, write letters to the editor,discuss this with family and friends, be it through church groups, fraternal organizations, work groups, and any outlet you may have at your disposal, and to write a short email or letter and send it to these officials. Simply state your concerns, your suggestions, and your observations and anything else that may be useful in a rather short and concise few paragraphs.

Be vigilant and always call the police department of your jurisdiction anytime you see anything that is suspicious to you. Know your surroundings, observe what is all around you all the time, and speak with you neighbors. Leave lights on at night, a great deterrent. Consider having a dog as they are vocal when a threat is near being that they are protective of their territory always. Consider home and car alarms. Only let close trusted friends and family be aware of your specific schedule. Leave a radio on loud when you are away. Do not share vacation specifics on public media. Participate and / or organize neighborhood watch groups. Report any threats you may receive and always report any crime, no matter how seemingly small, as these statistics, when compiled, show where our weaknesses are and what we need to even further address.

The authorities, be they politicians, law enforcement, or other agency officials, need to know what we are thinking moving forward, and then they can communicate with us what they are planning in response to what we share about our concerns, and those details are coming to fruition, as a plan ro combat this crime certainly will in short order too.

I only hope that this information is useful to us all and that we may all live in an even more peaceful locale while we further construct a course of action to make a more wholesome future for us all in our own pursuit of happiness.

We are all tired of criminals, revolving doors, recitivism, repeat offenders in the public that should already be behind bars, poor sentencing guidelines and/or sentencing that is just too short, judges that are often far too lenient, bails/bonds that are seeming not fitting to the allegations, ad infinitum.

If your focus is merely on the court system and sentencing, you are looking at only was small portion of the entire problem, and addressing it alone will have no real long term effect towards the overall goals of long term progress. We, locally and abroad, have too often been far to short sited and emotional at times when we need to be much more visionary and objective in order to correctly envision problems and solutions that will stand for the desired outcome we seek.We must develop and employ swiftly an efficient plan that is both proactive and reactive and addresses all of these facets as so mentioned.

I hope, again, you will each consider these aspects, re-reading this, and making notes along the way that are sparked by your individual passions, and get to work writing your letters to officials, the newspaper, sharing with friends, and family, etc., etc., etc. 

Thanks so very much for your time, and I am looking forward to making our homes and neighborhoods even safer then we can imagine today, but tit will be a long road to pave together and a lot of work, but we must continue on the road on which we have begun to travel together.

In closing this quote from Thomas Jefferson, I hope will inspire even greater contribution from us each, may the healing begin through this conversation we shall have.

    In Difficult Times
"The man who loves his country on its own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it, can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off." --Thomas Jefferson 

We indeed have those means at hand, and we indeed have a duty to collectively ward them off.

Sincerely,

John S. Swygert

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Join your local citizen's soon...stay tuned here for details of the Rally !!!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Here are some recent links from The Cumberland Times News that may be worthwhile reading for you to, as they are indeed on this topic as well.
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Cumberland Citizens Corps
Below are the email addresses that I urge you each (local citizens) to write too: