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Funds aid cops with data

November 25, 2000

Funds aid cops with data



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Hagerstown City Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Office are two of 24 Maryland police agencies that will receive grants to ensure ex parte and protective orders are promptly and accurately entered into state crime databases.

Information in the databases is used to flag illegal firearm purchases by those against whom the protective orders are issued.

The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention announced last week that $910,581 was being distributed to authorities.

Statewide, funds will be used to hire 33 data entry clerks, purchase 19 computer terminals and provide thousands of hours for law enforcement overtime so ex parte and protective orders can be quickly processed and served.

Hagerstown City Police will receive $29,126 to hire a data-entry clerk who will enter protective orders, remove entries from databases upon expiration, make monthly checks to ensure the accuracy of entries and get background information on protective orders.

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"We are fortunate to get this position," said City Police Chief Arthur Smith.

Currently, dispatchers input the information along with their other duties, he said.

Smith said it is the police department's goal to reduce the turnaround period between the time orders are issued and the information is entered into crime database systems.

"The objective will be a 95 percent success rate in entering ex parte and protective orders within 24 hours of receipt and a 100 percent success rate for the first 48 hours," Smith said in his grant application.

Smith said it is crucial for up-to-date information to be entered in the databases as soon as possible.

"We want to make sure no one falls through the cracks," he said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department will receive a $51,500 grant to purchase computer equipment to enter domestic violence orders.

Ex parte and protective orders are issued by District and Circuit courts and most often involve incidents of domestic violence.

They contain specific orders intended to protect the victim.

The information is entered into the Maryland Inter-Law Enforcement System and National Crime Information Center as soon as possible to notify other police departments and their officers who may have contact with the respondents.

These systems are checked by the Maryland State Police Licensing Division when personnel there conduct a background check on someone attempting to purchase a regulated firearm.

Maryland law prohibits the respondent of a protective order from buying a gun.

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