Baltimore County Now
Fourth Year in a Row
For the fourth year in a row, Baltimore County is ranked among the top 10 counties in the nation in terms of aligning technology initiatives with executive strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies, according to the Center for Digital Government’s 13th annual 2015 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).
“This award is considered one of the top measures of government technology performance and we are proud and delighted that we are, once again, rated among the best of the best throughout the country in terms of using technology to make government work smarter,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This award really spotlights the remarkable skill and dedication of our technology staff and our employees throughout County government as we work to enhance our efficiency and deliver excellent service and smart government to the people of Baltimore County.”
Among the nation’s counties that participated, Baltimore County’s Office of Information Technology earned the 7th place ranking in the category for counties with 500,000 or more population. NACo and Digital Government leaders have emphasized that this award testifies to the success of counties’ use of technology to serve citizens.
The County’s high ranking was based on a number of factors, including these highlights:
- enhanced citizen engagement through responsive and intuitive design of the County’s home page to help the website’s 4.6 million annual visitors easily find what they need
- active social media outreach that provides real-time information
- the County’s Operational Excellence initiative that fosters continuous improvement of business processes through technology
- centralizing data to enhance security and functionality
- providing technology platforms to improve field operations
- coordination of technology assets between the County government and public library system
- development of the “One View” public school security and surveillance system
About the Digital Counties Survey
The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. This organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.
New Approach Emphasizes that Community Relations is Every Officer's Responsibility
Crime prevention, police partnerships, outreach and public safety education to schools, communities and all segments of our society are the responsibility of every single Baltimore County police officer, said Chief Jim Johnson in announcing a departmental reorganization. The reorganization will further enhance and build upon the agency’s long-standing and a very successful community policing program.
In the past, Johnson said the department’s Community Resources Bureau was separate from the Operations Bureau, leading some officers to feel that building community relationships and working with young people was the primary responsibility of the Community Resources Bureau, or the work of outreach teams in individual precincts.
“Especially in today’s environment, this mind set must change in public safety”, Johnson said. “Our effectiveness rests on the confidence of people we serve. It is critical that we enhance programming and build confidence and relationships with our younger citizens, organizations and all communities in our great County. This is every officer’s business. This is every officer’s role and responsibility – from the Chief all the way to the officers and professional staff members of what I believe is the finest police department in America.”
Effective immediately, the Safe Schools Section, which manages the School Resource Officer program and is liaison to Baltimore County Public Schools, will report to the Operations Bureau, Patrol Division. This will provide better clarity of communication, and coordination of investigations, tactics and procedures to further enhance the safety of our students, faculty and staff that work in our exceptional school system.
A new Youth & Community Resources Section will comprise a Counseling Team, Youth Initiatives and a new Community Partnership Team. This Section will become part of the Operations Bureau reporting to the Operations Commander.
Ten officers assigned to the Juvenile Offenders in Need of Supervision (J.O.I.N.S.) will be reassigned from Police Headquarters to the ten precincts county -wide, allowing families and children in the J.O.I.N.S. Program more convenient, closer to home, police visits and interaction, as well as counseling.
Baltimore County’s very successful and valued Auxiliary Police Program, in which volunteers provide traffic control and other basic operational support to sworn officers, will become part of the Operations Bureau, Support Operations Division.
With this reorganization, the agency will operate under two Bureaus, which will no doubt enhance communications, expedite police response and coordination of crime prevention, community policing and outreach, investigation and patrol services, as well as provide the most robust youth, crime prevention, counseling, and education resources available.
Daisha Smith, BCPL Marketing Assistant
The Baltimore County Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) for all ages, is a great initiative that offers students a chance to earn exciting prizes all while improving their reading skills. It is designed to prevent achievement loss and encourage early literacy.
Each year, more than 50,000 Baltimore County children participate. Studies show that kids who do not read over the summer fall behind in school. Studies also show that children who participate improve their reading skills by a third of a grade, show more of a desire for school and are empowered to face their challenges.
The Summer Reading Club offers individual activities set to match the needs for all ages. This year’s theme is Every Hero Has a Story! This theme motivates readers to be as confident as a superhero and take on everyday challenges.
SRC features the Read-to-Me Club, for newborns to 5-year-olds; the Elementary Reading Club for students in kindergarten through the Fifth Grade; Middle School Reading Club for students in the sixth grade through the eighth grade; and the High School and Adult Reading Club for high school students and up.
Registration is quick and simple. First, visit the SRC BCPL website (http://www.bcpl.info/summerreading) and select the “Sign Me Up Button.” Next, visit your respective branch to receive a game board to start reading.
Once you’ve registered, the Summer Reading Club asks students to read for one hour or read one book until they’ve reached four books or four hours of reading time. Once completed, visit your local branch for a sticker. Once you have read sixteen books or read for a grand total of sixteen hours, visit your branch to pick up your prize!
So what are you waiting for? Visit your local BCPL branch today and start reading!