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Baltimore County News

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Date: Oct 2019

On the County Police Promotees 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued the following statement commending the promotion of Baltimore County Police Captain Deanna Chemelli, who will become the County's only current female precinct captain, and Baltimore County Police Lieutenant Tonya Johnson, who will become Baltimore County’s first African American female lieutenant:

“A strong and effective police department looks like the community that they serve and that must include the leadership ranks. We are so proud to announce the promotions of Captain Chemelli and Lieutenant Johnson. Congratulations to these barrier-breaking members of the command staff, as well as all of today’s promotees, on their new roles and for their exemplary dedication to protecting our communities. We are a safer County thanks to their service.”


Grant Will Improve the County's System for Investigating Sexual Assaults

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that the Hackerman Foundation has awarded $300,000 in grant funding to Baltimore County and the Baltimore County Police Department to support cold case sexual assault investigations and improve current and future investigations.

This new funding will support key recommendations from the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force’s recently released final report to make improvements in several areas of sexual assault investigations.

“We commit to doing everything we can to seek justice for survivors of sexual assault. This grant provides critical support for investigators as they work to secure justice and closure for victims who have been waiting years, or even longer,” said County Executive Olszewski. “I am grateful to the Hackerman Foundation for their generous support, which will help implement the recommendations made by our Task Force and provide resources to analyze cases, identify offenders, and make our communities safer.”

“Upon approval of this funding, the Baltimore County Police Department will be provided with the resources to implement several recommendations made by the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force," said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. "Our victims deserve a complete and thorough investigation in every case. This funding will support this initiative.”

The advancement of technology has led to substantial value in evaluating old cases for testing or renewed testing. The grant funding will support critical areas of need for cold cases, including:

  • Testing of GBMC slides. In the 1970s, GBMC emergency room physician Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker recognized the value of evidence from sexual assault survivors and preserved evidence on microscope slides. Dr. Breitenecker continued this collection practice into the early 1990s when the standardized SAFE exam emerged. These slides are maintained at GBMC and previous testing have proven viable for DNA testing which have led to the conviction of several offenders for decades-old crimes. This new funding will support testing of slides in order to attempt to further identify DNA and FBI profiles.
  • Applying modern DNA analysis procedures on cases that have been entered into the FBI CODIS.
  • Funding to test SAFE Kits from prior to April 30, 2018 to expand efforts to test every eligible kit.
  • Staffing, travel, and training for Special Victims staff personnel skilled in the area of investigations to manage increased workload and expedite processing of cases.
  • Technology and other department equipment

This is the latest effort from the Olszewski Administration to improve Baltimore County’s system for investigating sexual assaults.

In February 2019, County Executive Olszewski formed the Sexual Assault Investigations Task Force to examine current investigation and prosecution policies. Earlier this month, the Task Force issued their final recommendations, including to increase capacity to test SAFE kits, establish cold case investigations, develop and implement a comprehensive training plan, and to seek funding sources to assist in these endeavors.

Maryland State Delegate Shelly Hettleman, representing District 11 in Baltimore County, has been a dedicated advocate for several legislative initiatives to positively impact sexual assault investigations. Delegate Hettleman, aware of funding limitations, was critical in orchestrating discussions with the Hackerman Foundation regarding this project.

“Survivors of sexual assault deserve to know that their stories will be taken seriously and that their rapists will be held accountable. We’ve made real progress at the state level to make sure there will be thorough, consistent investigations of sexual assault, and I’m heartened to see the County making progress as well. Even decades old trauma needs closure, and with this support from the Hackerman Foundation, Baltimore County will be able to help some survivors get closure.”

The Hackerman Foundation was established in honor and memory of Nancy Hackerman’s father, Willard Hackerman. Mr. Hackerman was the CEO and longtime President of Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Mr. Hackerman and his wife, Lillian Patz Hackerman, were generous supporters of many universities and hospitals throughout Maryland, as well as national institutions. They also established scholarship funds for local students. The Hackerman Foundation was established in order to continue in their legacy of generous giving.

The grant will go before the Baltimore County Council on November 4, 2019.


 Baltimore County Officials Will Recognize National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, October 26, Baltimore County officials will recognize National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a nationwide initiative organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to highlight safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs in communities, while raising awareness about the disease of prescription drug addiction.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, residents are encouraged to safely dispose of out unwanted or expired medications, including prescription opioids, such as Percocet, OxyContin or Vicodin, at predetermined, approved locations. The full list of approved sites is available at takebackday.dea.gov

We Have a Moral Imperative

“Each overdose death means the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, neighbor and friend. We have a moral imperative to do everything within our power to respond to this devastating epidemic,” County Executive Olszewski said. “This day—and every day—is take back day in Baltimore County and we urge residents to dispose of their medications and help save lives.”

Rates of prescription drug misuse have been steadily increasing. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Removing the presence of unwanted or unused prescription medications from the home helps ensure the safety of family and friends.

Year-round Prescription Return Boxes

Baltimore County has also introduced permanent, year-round prescription return boxes at 10 locations throughout the county to allow individuals to safely and anonymously return any expired or unused medication—with no questions asked. The drug drop boxes are located at:

  • Baltimore County Police Baltimore County Police Precinct 1 Wilkens - 901 Walker Avenue, 21228 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 2 Woodlawn - 6424 Windsor Mill Road, 21207
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct  3 Franklin - 606 Nicodemus Road, 21136 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 4 Pikesville - 215 Milford Mill Road, 21208
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 6 Towson - 115 W. Susquehanna Avenue, 21204  
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 7 Cockeysville - 111 Wight Avenue, 21030 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 8 Parkville - 8532 Old Harford Road, 21234
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 9 White Marsh - 8220 Perry Hall Boulevard, 21236
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 11 Essex - 216 North Marlyn Avenue, 21221 
  • Baltimore County Police Precinct 12 Dundalk – 428 Westham Way, 21224 

“I urge parents and guardians to take inventory of their medicine cabinet and secure all medications that are genuinely needed,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. “When we don’t take these necessary precautions, we could inadvertently open the gateway to addiction.”

Statistics and Efforts

Baltimore County has the second highest number of overdose deaths in the state—in 2018, 348 people died from opioid-related overdoses, up from 323 in 2017.

The Olszewski Administration has made efforts to combat the opioid epidemic a priority including: 

  • Announcing the placement of overdose awareness signs around the County in an effort to shine light on the opioid epidemic and reduce the stigma often associated with the disease of addiction;
  • Appointing Baltimore County’s first Opioid Strategy Coordinator to spearhead efforts to address the crisis across the government; and
  • Convening the Baltimore County Opioid Response Working Group, who recently released its draft report (PDF), outlining 11 recommendations as the County continues its efforts to combat overdose deaths, expand access to treatment and prevent addiction.

“The impact of opioid abuse in our communities is significant. This day reminds all of us to reduce the possibility of our unused medication harming our family members or anyone else,” Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa R. Hyatt said.

CVS Plays an Active Role

CVS Health plays an active role nationally and locally in supporting safe medication disposal. This week, the company announced that all CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide will offer customers a free safe medication disposal option, beginning in 2020. The company will add 1,000 in-store safe medication disposal units to the more than 1,700 units currently in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, including in Baltimore County. It will also donate up to 400 additional units to local police departments across the country, in addition to the more than 990 units already donated to law enforcement. Together, the existing medication disposal units have collected more than 1.1 million pounds of unwanted or expired medications. 

Additionally, beginning next year, all CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk will begin to offer DisposeRx® packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time.

“Our Safe Medication Disposal efforts allow people to easily get rid of unneeded medications—including controlled substances—at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community, getting opioids out of medicine cabinets where they could be diverted or misused,” said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. “Providing more options for proper disposal of unused medications in our stores and in the home is just one of the ways we're working to help combat prescription opioid misuse and build healthier communities.”

“We’re proud to link arms with community leaders and local law enforcement to safeguard the health and well-being of our neighbors,” said Thomas B. Smyth, president and CEO of University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. “Our fervent hope is that, by making these designated safe drop boxes available to the community-at-large, we are helping area families avoid the physical trauma and the heartache associated with opioid overdose. One more overdose death is one more too many. We are called to help ‘Take Back’ our community’s health.”

If you or a loved one is suffering from an alcohol, tobacco or drug addiction, help is available. Call the Department of Health at 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224).


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017