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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Crime Symposium at Allegany College of Maryland Held April 28, 2015

Tonight I attended the Crime Symposium at Allegany College of Maryland at 6:00 p.m.that finished just before 8 p.m.

I was there in support of the group I founded called the Cumberland Citizen's Corps.

This was an extraordinary collection of the finest men and women in local and state law enforcement as well as mental health services.

This was an organized symposium brought to us by the Crime Solvers organization who I would like to highly commend for their efforts. 

I was honored to speak with Mr. Michael O. Twigg of the State's Attorneys Office, as well as commissioner Bill Valentine and Mayor Brian Grim as well as others I met for the very first time and quite honestly cannot directly recall by name, as that is not always my personal forte.

Others that should be recognized for their attendance were Delegate Mike McKay, Allegany County Commissioner Jake Shade, City Council Woman Nicole Alt-Myers, Delegate Wendell Beitzell, as well as others too.


The list of speakers was as follows:

Allegany Sheriff Craig Robertson; Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael Twigg; Cumberland Police Chief Charles Hinnant; Maryland State Police Major James Pyles; Rebecca Myers, program director-Behavioral Health; and Lesa Diehl, director - Mental Health System's Office, Allegany County Health Department.

I can say right now is that we have the finest educated experienced passionate professionals in law enforcement on our side in Cumberland, Frostburg, Allegany County and the state of Maryland, and they all deserve your support.

The main focus was on the recent increase in crime and ways to further help reduce that increase. Also, other topics covered, and certainly related, were drug use and theft, mental health, and specifically, an emphasis on the escalation in use of heroin. Of particular concern to heroin is its potency today versus many years ago. As Michael Twigg stated, only 18% of heroin users ever recover to lead productive normal lives again.

There was some talk about educating out of this problem as opposed to arresting our way out, which all in attendance agreed is impossible, however I would like to hear a greater emphasis on the aspects of education including its specifics as well as a think tank type meeting where we can all, in smaller groups of an official and several citizens, discuss and offer our own input as to what we think would be effective.

There are new programs going into effect by HRDC (Human Resources Development Commission) and I will update this report with more specifics about those programs.

Michael Twigg made an interesting proposal about perhaps the need now today for a "Drug Court", now that we have seen such a spike in heroin and other illicit drug use. This was once something he did not think was needed but has shifted gears in the face of the uptick in its use. His office needs our support in the way of more funding as well. Please write your governor to that effect demanding that we receive this funding as soon as possible. It is at our own peril if we do not receive it, as they are short staffed for the case load at hand. I do personally expect much tougher sentencing no matter what the case is regardless of the financial aspects of his office. If we must plea bargain to save valuable time, please make sure those plea bargains being offered are less favorable to these criminals.

What seems to be a trending tactic by accused criminals (defendants) is the demand for a jury trial, which consumes much more time on an already overburdened docket. This is something that only manpower can resolve. It appears to me that it is well known that we are short staffed and this particular tactic is simply a way to leverage for an even better plea bargain. We need to have a policy that simply states if you ask for a jury trial, there will be no plea bargain offered what so ever to begin with, and I think this tactic would quickly fade away once the criminal defense attorneys became aware of this new policy, as plea bargains are not promised by the law.

The Allegany County Health Department also has a plethora of programs, be it drug and alcohol counseling and/or mental health services and has a current initiative training citizens (anyone can sign up) on the proper procedures to administer Narcodol, which you will receive upon completion. The kit includes the drug, needles, a respirator mask, and surgical gloves. This is life saving training and is not just for the addict but any overdose victim, often confused elders with pain ,medicine.

Also, concerning prescription medication, the health department has metal locked boxes, similar to mailboxes, where medication that is no longer needed can be safely dropped off with no questions asked. This insures proper disposal as well as no chance of this medication being found in the wrong hands. These boxes are suppose to proliferate in our area so more folks may utilize them. Also of importance on this topic, if you have medication around your home and others are aware of this, you make yourself a target of criminals that want to support their drug habit. Be extremely careful who you share this type of delicate information with and also be careful about posting recent surgical operations on media online such as facebook.

Of a panel of excellent speakers and speeches from all, the most dynamic and impeccable speakers, I thought for myself, were Michael O. Twigg and  Maryland State Police Major James Pyles. Mr Twigg's presentation and information shared was well delivered and informative and easy to absorb. Mr. Pyles was fast and passionate and highly motivational I felt. I observed superb leadership qualities, wisdom, education, and experience in all of these speakers that were present.

The topics covered by the Sheriff, the Chief of Police, and the State Police included reasons and solutions for the rise in violent crime. All were in total agreement that most of the crime is strongly drug related, with heroin being the number one offender in that classification with a rather scary and steady rise of both use and overdose death. Michael Twigg also stressed we have a large demand here, the dealers can reap a large profit margin, and these factors among others make us a prime area to deal drugs, be it for the dealers profit alone or to support their habit, if not both. One way we can curb that problem is with very tough sentencing, especially for dealers. If you observe suspicious behavior, such as many visits to a single household that are usually very short in length, please report that to the police department in your jurisdiction. These tips are instrumental to law enforcement.

There was little to no mention of gangs in these speeches, and this was something I thought was a bit of an oversight. I know for a fact that there are elements of many notorious well organized gangs here locally. These are often the drug runners bringing in quantities of drugs for distribution. It is important to raise you own awareness about gang clothing, signs, and tattoos as well as other features that may help you steer clear of them. It is never wise to confront a suspected gang member either. Treat any citizen with equal respect you would to others and then share your concerns with law enforcement professionals and let them sort out the details.Here is a helpful link to study these concerns and many more are available with a simple search on the internet.

http://www.stophoustongangs.org/default.aspx?act=frontpage.aspx&name=Gang+Member+Identification


My understanding originally was that we would be able to address the members and give a speech ourselves. We were not able to do that but we were able to place written questions on index cards and ask specifics to a panel member in that way, and these were answered at the end of the panel speeches offered over the course of the evening. However, there is a meeting on April 30, 2015, Thursday, which will be at Allegany College of Maryland as well, and you must register for that online and you will be able to speak at this forum.

I will place that information here for ease of access, and after the date passes relocate this information to the bottom of this page. If you are not interested in this material or attending simply scroll down to the next series of hyphens crossing the page to pick up the rest of my article there please.

This information can be found online and may be shared with this link posted in your own facebook timeline, and this would be a great service towards boosting attendance.

https://www.facebook.com/cumberlandcitizenscorps/posts/696609540465163

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PLEASE ATTEND THIS EVENT !!!
There will be a GOCCP Meeting with state officials present and on hand that will be held on Thursday, April 30, at 10:00 a.m. at The Allegany College of Maryland located at 12401 Willowbrook Road in Cumberland, Maryland 21502.
From Delegate Mike McKay's facebook pages press release:
PRESS RELEASE
District 1 Delegation to Meet with Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention
Cumberland, MD, April 21, 2015 – Senator Edwards, Delegates Beitzel, Buckel and McKay announce the Western Region Meet & Greet Forum scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursday, April 30, at the College Center Building/Theatre of Allegany College of Maryland. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m.
The forum will provide an avenue to discuss how to curb the rising crime in our area with the help of state resources from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
GOCCP’s Executive Director Christopher Shank will share the mission of his office in preventing crime and encouraging public safety in Western Maryland. He looks forward to an open discussion and meeting concerned residents and newly-elected and appointed public officials.
“My idea was to see if we could build on the crime reduction success we’ve had in the City of Cumberland through the use of the Safe Streets Initiative,” said Del. Mike McKay, who requested the Meet & Greet Forum. “I’d like to use and extend that model throughout all of Allegany County.”
McKay is a former member of the Safe Streets Initiative Advisory Board, which is a GOCCP-funded program.
“Increased crime and ensuring public safety is a major concern of our community and our delegation,” said Del. Jason Buckel. “We won’t accept the current level of crime and drug activity plaguing Allegany County, and this forum is a first step toward bringing state and local resources together in a coordinated manner to make our area safer and tougher on crime.”
GOCCP is Maryland’s one stop shop for resources to improve public safety. The office exists to educate, connect and empower Maryland's citizens and public safety entities through innovative funding, strategic planning, crime data analysis, best practices research and results-oriented customer service.
To pre-register for the forum please go to http://westernforum.eventbrite.com
For more information, contact Delegate Mike McKay mike.mckay@house.state.md.us
Copy and paste this into your browser's address bar and view the map to the college.
https://www.google.com/…/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x89ca893e…
This is another event where the citizens can be seen and heard so that we may further emphasize the changes we all seek in a constructive manner.
When you fail to attend these meetings with officials present, the overall message is we have a community that is not engaged or is dis-interested and that is a certain stepping stone to losing our collective voice and support.
You may have some questions like...
What is the GOCCP !!!
The Govenor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention
https://www.facebook.com/pages/goccpmd/125182720842884
"GOCCP is Maryland’s one stop shop for resources to improve public safety. GOCCP exists to educate, connect, and empower Maryland’s citizens and public safety entities through innovative funding, strategic planning, crime data analysis, best practices research and results-oriented customer service."
http://www.goccp.maryland.gov/
PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION. WE HAVE A CRITICAL ISSUE WITH THIS INFORMATION REACHING OUR COMMUNITY EFFECTIVELY.
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After the meeting, I walked away in a state of awe at the dedication and preparation by these professionals as well as a confident feeling that we are in good hands with their collective leadership and willing open mindedness towards examining these issues we must deal with swiftly.

My greatest dis-appointment was that the public attendance overall was so poor for a county that has roughly 75,000 residents. Perhaps there were 75 in attendance in the audience total and several of those were elected officials, and I may actually be generous in that estimate. The general population failed in attendance miserably, however that may very well be due to a lack of announcing the symposium through multiple channels and / or well ahead of time.

I requested most of these individuals, or agencies represented, to speak at a meeting for the public I wanted to organize, and had very little feedback beyond our Mayor, Michael Twigg, and several Cumberland police officers and our Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson. Timing and weather were indeed the main issues to overcome at the time of the meetings I had wanted to plan over the brutal arctic winter, and they would have essentially been the exact same type of forum, however with the opportunnity for the citizens to speak up as well and address these professionals with a speech and / or questions. This can be unruly and threatening and is often shunned but we need to have an open forum that is well organized and civil, because without the public input as far as experience and suggestions from these real life experiences, solutions may be overlooked.

I was very pleased to see this symposium come to fruition in this form and I am equally pleased to see the dialogue has indeed been, not just started, but continued very, very seriously. It takes all of us as a collective catalyst to further push the envelope towards positive change, often demanding these changes through the proper constructive channels.

For those  of you who missed this symposium that was organized by Crime Solvers, you did yourself a dis-service as well as our local community, as the information learned during this presentation was certainly invaluable.

I want to thank Crime Solvers once again for their diligent work as well as the panel members they invited that shared excellent informative speeches.

Crime Solvers may be reached at this number 301-722-4300 and you may remain anonymous as well. There is no tip that should not be called in. Even suspicious and / or peculiar behavior is very worthwhile to have checked upon by the police.

As a matter of fact, there are many numbers you can call and leave information about crime or request to speak with an officer.

I hope to add a video of this at a later time so those that missed the symposium can see what transpired and learn from the speeches that were given. If you are reading this and have that material or a link to it, please make sure to get a hold of me. You can easily leave a comment here at the end of this blog.

What I had intended personally on this evening was delivering this speech (below) myself to those in attendance, and as I took several hours working on it over two days from rough draft to finished product, I will leave it here at this blog in its entirety after this report has concluded. Again, the original posting was specific that we would indeed be able to speak and address the panel.

I will be adding to this report and also including other news sources' links who have also reported on this symposium so there is a well rounded amount of information for you, the reader, and must say that if another symposium is offered soon, please do attend, you will certainly not be disappointed.

Most of what I outlined in my own speech was touched on by different speakers in the panel tonight and it was indeed a couple of hours well spent. My hat is off to these fine men and women.

I hope my speech below is worthwhile as well and that the proper eyes find it and consider my own work within, which I will be expanding on after further discussions and studying.

Radical is a powerful word, but it is time to exercise some radical and progressive measures to curb this recent rise in crime as well as educate the general public, be they the youth or the adult citizens. 

Drug Courts, Three Strike Laws, State Referendum for mandatory education, court ordered education, etc, these are all things we should seriously be considering because what we have done up to now has been failing, however unfortuante.

Today, there is a very deep and growing cultural divide that must be bridged through education, otherwise these problems will only get worse. The other equally important stipulation to quell these issues for the long term is an even better economy where even the average man has the means before him to support his family through a great job with benefits. 

Education is always the master key that should be embraced and well utilized so we can continue to heal and move our society forward.

We are a region full of a bright future with promise, and our citizens and most importantly our youth deserve that in their pursuit of happiness moving forward.

Thanks

My Speech:

I am John Stephen Swygert. 

First of all I would like to thank each of you for being here today and listening to the citizens of Cumberland, Maryland where I have resided since 2002. Also let me state clearly I stand side by side with how our Mayor here at home feels about these issues.

There is no doubt today that we are having an increase in crime here locally. There is no doubt that it is an increase in violent crime and drug related crime, often both interlaced. There is no doubt that their is a strong element of gangs here at home as well. There is no doubt that the consensus of the citizens here are demanding these issues be addressed, and so, here we are today to at least in part discuss and share these issues and probable solutions.

To further qualify myself to you here today, because many of you I have yet to meet in person, I have a degree in Science with a Major in Police Science. I have also founded the loose knit group named  the Cumberland's Citizen's Corps to specifically rally around today's issues at hand. 

I was published in 2010 by The United States Department of Energy for my cutting edge ideas and proposals for re-landscaping the entire energy marketplace. The basic ideas were to consume less energy and become more efficient consumers through the use of better modern technology not being well utilized then in a broader spectrum while becoming better stewards to Mother Earth. These ideas, quickly embraced, have indeed changed the landscape of the entire energy marketplace. They have made us less dependent on foreign nations thus securing better national security, have changed the entire way other nations conduct business as we lead in these regards due to our changes here at home in this marketplace, and have offered many high tech jobs in an industry swiftly evolving while stimulating the economy in a massive way that has surely led to many more new jobs. Furthermore, this pushes us more swiftly towards upgrading and renewing and / or building new infrastructure, so direly needed. We are  past the classical and historical Industrial Age and Service Age alike, and are now in The Green Era, like it or not, and it is only through studying or education that these thoughts ever evolved from my own mind.

Part of the long term goals in mind with a plan like that is reducing the impact that has been our socio-economic problems and issues exploding today, usually and typically ending in crime, most often violent crime, and in my mind, the number one contributing factor in these situations being discussed here now. We have a very massive cultural divide and socio-economic divide, both well connected to one another, that need to be bridged through education and a better economy.

I more recently attended, but did not complete, the Citizen's Police Academy here in Cumberland due to health issues, however I did enjoy the sessions I did attend and thought it was very worthwhile and suggest that more citizens apply to attend next time it is offered and also think this could be a great program to offer young students, perhaps structured slightly differently, but covering the same topics and points as well as visiting the same places of interest.

I was also on the radio with local radio personality Amanda Mangan discussing these very issues while representing The Cumberland Citizens Corps a group organized to rally support for the public showing we had planned that was cancelled due to the brutal arctic weather we were experiencing. I also helped raise awareness, through writing letters once again to officials far and wide, be they federal, state or local in nature, and was a catalyst in the origin of the public discussions here locally we are having today. I wrote letters in the same nature that led to the eventual passage of new laws here concerning the epidemic of Bath Salts and how we would combat them as well. I know how to start a dialoge and shine a spotlight on glaring problems, I only wish I could fix them as easily, however that is a job that takes all of us together working in unison.

I state these qualifications  more as suggestions then anything else,  about how we should all contribute to analyzing social issues here at home and how we can effectively start a discussion that will lead to swift and efficient progress, as I think we have a right to expect that which we work diligently towards, which is only fair, rational, and logical in nature.

I want to very clear and unequivicoally state that I believe our law enforcement agencies are performing their skill sets very diligently and I do not fault them in these issues at all.

We all understand the glaring problems, but again, the difficulty lies in finding the answers. Below I will articulate my ideas towards achieving those answers.

Answer 1:

Progress, beyond progressive ideas,  most often takes an investment of both our valuable time and most certainly money. Addressing today's issues specifically, first, in the perspective of budgeting, I ask, does saving money up front on these issues and then, through poor sentencing, having to deal with the same criminals again and again while law enforcement places their valuable lives on the line, sound like it is working?

It is not and simply costs much more in the long run and in incalculable ways. I beg of you each that we do what is right and demand more funding for our local States Attorneys Office so they can be more effective, which we expect today anyway. This expenditure here now would offset the expenditure over-runs concerning our local agencies, such as overtime in the police departments, as the burden will lessen in general if we have much less crime and recidivism. It also sends a clear and resounding message that we are not tolerating crime or criminals anymore! It makes sense for the city, the county, and the citizens as well as the bottom line in the budget. Please support more funding for these issues immediately.

Should the Safe Streets program have to really constantly pick up the same disrespectful criminals that should often still be behind bars to start with had they been sentenced more fairly in the beginning? I could site many exacting examples, but I do not think anyone here would argue this point, so I will not do so. I have done my due diligence, and anyone else who has also would know this for fact already. I do not like the idea of our men and women of law enforcement having to place their lives on the line over and over again concerning criminals they have already dealt with. Why is a criminal picked up on a warrant for a failure to appear only to be bailed out of jail in order to repeat this same disrespectful behavior? Is there any sense in there at all?

We need to educate our way out of these problems. What leaves, or has left, a lasting impression on me personally is visiting institutions as well as law enforcement agencies. What leaves impressions on other individuals is men and women in uniform sharing, through speeches or classrooms, their professional knowledge with a strong message of demanding both civil peace and civil obedience concerning laws as well as informing the students what they do not want to experience and can avoid through better education and ultimately better more thorough thinking processes related to making decisions that are better, more proper, and moral choices overall. These classes, often at certain institutions, such as jails and emergency call centers to name a few, also reinforce positive fulfilling lives by offering a better fundamental understanding of law enforcement and all that it entails for the men and women in this profession. These men and women, through my own experience, are typically caring and excellent educated role models, which may be the most important factor of all.  

Answer 2:

The best answer to any logistical issue when concerning human beings and social dysfunction always has a factor of education as its largest percentage when viewed as a scientific problem with mathematical factors. It is education that offers the best short and long term solution to these and most any issues. When the sentence is issued to a criminal, for all intensive purposes a factor of that sentence is to teach a lesson. I would like to see mandatory courses in high schools (state referendum) and elementary schools alike where these courses (similar to what I outlined above) will become mandatory, as far as educating our youth and adult citizens about law enforcement, courts and corrections in all aspects, and how through better decision making by each of us as individuals, we can better avoid the pitfalls of poor decision making which can and often does lead to jail and a life of difficulty for them and their families. The recent Citizens Police Academy is a prime and perfect example of  a scenario of education as I further propose we implement on a larger scale.

We are not trying to reform the public but rather inform and educate and reinforce expected norms of society that shall be upheld. We are trying to reinforce the idea that law enforcement is a needed entity that should be perceived as friends to the citizen in good standing and a helpful friend too, to those that have tarnished themselves. That message is projected through educational forums as well as efficient tactics in community policing. It is also reflected in the judiciary and corrections as well, of course.
  
Quite simply, the most efficient steps for positive immediate results concerning the recent rise in violent and drug related crime, and in this order are, tougher sentences, then more funding for both the States Attorney's Office and an organized plan for education in the communities where we reside, and lastly even better practices in the field of corrections.

The cold hard facts today is that it is hard to quickly and efficiently educate away a culture people have grown up around and into. It is only long term effective planning that will tackle that issue. What promise do we offer today to those criminals that can make a quick buck vs. having a minimum wage job where they cannot exist alone yet support a family? The argument is not minimum wage but education, or the lack thereof, that leaves these individuals in a place where they cannot rise above. What do we do to motivate individuals to rise up from these circumstances, and what do we do as a modern society that is progressive to change these circumstances on a whole and have a smaller proportion of citizens in this situation to start with? Again, and I really cannot emphasize it enough, education,... which means money in the budget to get this done. We either pay once today or pay a multitude of myriad ways in the future.

Addressing the States Attorney's Office, Mr. Twigg, with all due respect sir, we must have tougher sentencing to keep our men and women of law enforcement and our citizens in a safer environment to begin with! What, I ask, can you fault with that statement? If you have not already made them sir, what are your very specific requests, plans and thoughts pertaining to these issues and when do we expect to see this action taken that we demand from your office as well as the judges too. If these most basic and reasonable demands are not going to happen immediately, then we need to replace those elected and appointed officials and find those that will accomplish these measures very soon. I will say in his defense, Mr. Twigg has been kind, honest, and receptive communicating with me personally and I appreciate that open line of communication. I feel positive he is the right man for this job and he needs our continued support. I have my own concerns with several judges and I am curious what their opinions are, as up to now, my understanding is there has been a silence or void in respect to that.

I was fortunate to grow up in a household near the Pentagon where my Father worked while serving his country. I was fortunate to have educated parents, both teachers as well. I was fortunate to have a n older brother and father, both West Pointers, as my male role models. We are all equally responsible to be those teachers and role models for other sin life as a duty as citizens and should carry a message that educates as well as stands for something, because if we do not, our rights are more and more infringed upon daily. We, as citizens in good standing, have a right, an undeniable right, to the pursuit of happiness, and that is a hard right to exercise in an environment surrounded by criminals and thugs that should have been sentenced tougher to begin with!!!  I was fortunate to have every opportunity afforded to me as a youth and adult and I recognize that that is not the norm what so ever today. We must change that.

Where are the Boy Scouts? Where is Big Brother? Where is volunteerism? Where are the roll models? We are here today at least, and I write ahead of time, more then likely not in huge numbers in presence, ...and it is our responsibility to carry the message of a good citizen to other citizens and lift them in their time of doubt and need, and that is a very difficult road to travel, but one we are walking today. I stress education because it is from Cub Scouts, To Webloes, to Boy Scouts, and DeMolay, and The Fraternal Order of Eagles and my parents and my schools and my higher education, and yes even my own personal mistakes, where others lifted me as I suggest we all do so with great and deep passion.

In closing, please continue to support our very fine men and women of law enforcement repeatedly placing their lives in harms way, all too often needlessly as a direct result of poor sentencing. Please get tougher on sentencing and demand this take place soon to better protect all of our lives and security in the pursuit of happiness, so guaranteed as an undeniable right! Support a larger budget in these regards. Support better education and the implementation of progressive cutting edge programs, philosophies, and ideas. We are on the cusp of lifting this city to an even more respectable bright future, with a budget now in the black, the building of a new high school, a respectable new hospital, the removal of blight, etc., so please do not let us continue to fail on this front of law enforcement concerning the lack of the judiciary performing their jobs more dutifully, and let that destroy all that we have been working so hard for together.

Thanks for being here today, discussing these issues, and listening to the citizens. I expect that we will make progress quickly and look forward to seeing all of you again the next time we meet soon to review this progress we are starting to further outline today.   

Sincerely,

John "Stephen" Swygert

Here is some additional information:


CUMBERLAND - The Allegany-Mineral Counties Crime Solvers, in coordination with law enforcement, prosecutors, county health departments and political and community leaders, will hold a symposium on crime and related issues affecting both counties.
The first event will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, from 6-8 p.m. at the Allegany College of Maryland Theater.  Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
The objective of the symposium will be to focus on crime related issues such as street level crime, drug users and dealers, and related domestic issues.  
Emphasis will also be on support of our local law enforcement efforts and encouraging strong participation by our citizens within  their affected communities.
Of primary importance is the drug activity which drives the crime problem. Without demand there would be no drug dealers, and crime would be greatly reduced.  Speakers from the different organizations will address current crime problems, programs and enforcement directed at mitigating these problems.
Speakers will include Allegany sheriff Craig Robertson; Allegany County state’s attorney Michael Twigg; Cumberland Police chief Charles Hinnant; Maryland State Police Major James Pyles; Rebecca Myers, program director-Behavioral Health; and Lesa Diehl, director - Mental Health System's Office, Allegany County Health Department.
All citizens and community service, charitable and other organizations are encouraged to attend.  
Allegany-Mineral Counties Crime Solvers is proud to present this program on community crime prevention and anti-drug use, in addition to providing monetary rewards for crime related information.
Questions may be directed to Crime Solvers first vice president Martin Walsh, 443-803-0067, or  sdrlm2713@gmail.com .

http://www.newstribune.info/article/20150414/NEWS/150419826/-1/news

THE CUMBERLAND TIMES NEWS ARTICLE ON THE EVENT

State’s attorney: Cultural change needed to combat county’s drug ‘epidemic’

 
CUMBERLAND — Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael Twigg showed those attending a crime symposium Tuesday evening at Allegany College of Maryland where seven drug dealers recently arrested and convicted in Allegany County were all from the same neighborhood in Baltimore.
Most of the 11 members of law enforcement and health and mental hygiene gave presentations at the event sponsored by the Allegany/Mineral Counties Crime Solvers organization.
Twigg, who became state’s attorney in 2002, said the illegal drug trade has risen dramatically. “We are seeing one of the worst epidemics Allegany County has faced since I’ve been here,” said Twigg. Attended by roughly 50 people, the symposium was hosted by David Goad, program director for the Cumberland Safe Streets Iniative. “The reason for the event is to heighten public awareness and to motivate members of the public to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in Allegany and Mineral counties,” said Goad. Craig Robertson, Allegany County sheriff, talked about the changes he has seen in crime in his 36-year career. “Years ago the individuals responsible were local with recognizable names. We saw the second and third generation criminals. Today we notice the names of many individuals are not from this area but from the recent influx from places like Baltimore, New York, D.C. and Philadelphia,” said Robertson. “The people we are convicting now have absolutely no ties to anyone in the county. The only ties are one thing: to come here to sell drugs,” said Twigg.

http://www.times-news.com/news/local_news/state-s-attorney-cultural-change-needed-to-combat-county-s/article_a9ced172-ee23-11e4-9282-bfe3511ea641.html