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Baltimore County News

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Review of Current Policies, National Best Practices and Recommendations

Following eight months of work, Baltimore County’s Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force today released its final report reviewing Baltimore County’s current policies, outlining national best practices and issuing recommendations to improve Baltimore County’s system for investigating sexual assaults.

Formed in February by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, the Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force was charged with reviewing practices and procedures related to sexual assault investigations and prosecution of allegations of sexual assault in Baltimore County, and making recommendations to improve those practices and procedures.

“People deserve to know that, when they are the victims of sexual assault, our law enforcement agencies will use every resource at our disposal to bring justice,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “These recommendations will not sit on a shelf. I charged our taskforce with developing actionable recommendations that we can put into place quickly, and I’m grateful to the task force members for their diligent work in carrying out that charge.”

Task Force Composition

The Task Force included a diverse roster of talented and knowledgeable individuals, including:

  • Sheryl Goldstein, Task Force Chair
  • David Thomas, Program Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Rosalyn Branson, CEO of TurnAround, Inc. 
  • Laura Clary, Program Manager, GBMC SAFE Program
  • John Cox, Deputy State's Attorney, Baltimore County State's Attorney’s Office
  • Lt. Brian Edwards, Commander of the Baltimore County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit
  • Nadia BenAissa, student at UMBC, co-chair of the Retriever Courage Student Advisory Committee and president of UMBC’s We Believe You survivor activist and advocacy group

“I applaud County Executive Olszewski’s leadership on this important issue and was honored to help lead the members of this task force who contributed their time and wisdom to this collaborative effort,” said Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force Chair Sheryl Goldstein. “This report provides clear, actionable recommendations that will build upon the reforms already underway to review and revise systems for handling sexual assault cases and improve outcomes for victims.”

Recommendations

The Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force’ report offers 23 recommendations for changes to policy and practices, including: 

  • Implementing a comprehensive sexual assault investigations policy to govern all sexual assault cases
  • Developing and implementing a uniform and centralized records system for its sexual assault cases. 
  • Continuing efforts to expand support for rape kit testing
  • Continuing to move towards a trauma-informed, victim-centered and offender-focused model of investigations.
  • Working with victim advocacy organizations and other non-profits, including TurnAround, Inc., to create a standardized protocol process for engaging with victims.     
  • Establishing standard procedures for handling incidents of sexual assault on college campuses or involving victims associated with these institutions. 
  • Increasing staffing of the County’s Special Victims Unit to better manage the caseload and best serve victims.  
  • Performing an audit of 911 calls for service for incidents of sexual assault annually
  • Reviewing all national best practice information provided by the Task Force and institute policies consistent with these best practices. 

Baltimore County will use the results of the study to guide efforts to improve Baltimore County’s sexual assault investigations.

The full Report of Findings and Recommendations (PDF) is available to download and read online.


County Executive Olszewski on Congressman Cummings

“Congressman Cummings believed in the power of government to improve lives, and he was a champion for those who most needed a strong voice speaking up on their behalf in Washington. He dedicated his life to the people of the Baltimore region, and we are all better for his selfless service. May he Rest In Peace."

Keywords: cummings, olszewski

What is Caller ID Spoofing

Spam includes all forms of unwanted communications, including but not limited to unsolicited calls or messages, caller ID spoofing and robocalls. Typically, spam is directed to large numbers of users for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware and more. Learn more about how scammers falsify information to disguise their identity and how you can avoid becoming a victim.

Caller ID spoofing is a process in which the caller knowingly falsifies the information transmitted in the call, such as changing the caller ID to any number other than the actual calling number, in order to disguise the actual number they're calling from. The number that displays on your caller ID may look as though it's coming from a government agency, business or even someone in your contact list, in an attempt to trick you into answering the call.

Caller ID spoofing is increasing throughout the telecommunications industry and includes landlines, mobile devices and IP-based telephone service providers. This is not a carrier-specific issue, anyone can fall prey to caller ID spoofing.

Some callers have legitimate reasons for hiding their information, such as doctor’s offices or law enforcement agencies. However; in most cases the caller's intent is not so innocent. Scammers call from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or government agency that you already trust so you feel safe enough to answer the call. Once they get you on the phone, they will then use scam scripts in an effort to steal money and valuable information from you, such as personally identifiable information, including bank and credit account information, driver’s license numbers, home address, etc.  

A Few Easy Steps to Protect Yourself from Fraud

  1. If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer the call. If you accidentally answer the call, end the call immediately.
  2. If you answer the call and you feel like it may be suspicious, do not answer any questions or give out any personal information and end the call immediately. Identity thieves often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors or government agencies to get account numbers, social security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information. If you suspect the call may have been legitimate, call a customer service or fraud phone number listed on  account statements, or the websites of the company or government agency.
  3. If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, make sure to set a password for accessing your messages. Spammers can hack your voicemail and gain access if you do not set a password for protection.

Additional Resource

Learn more about caller ID spoofing, including additional tips for protecting yourself against fraud and how to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if you feel you’ve been a victim of a spoofing scam.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017