Keeping us safe
Holtzman and Mullendore said technology improvements that have allowed improved and more timely communication among first responders at the local, state and federal levels have substantially aided efforts to improve public safety since 9/11.
About nine months ago, Mullendore recalled a deputy stopping a man for driving under the influence and subsequently discovering he had a bottle of urine, a component for making a bomb, in the vehicle.
Through new channels of information-sharing with federal authorities, Mullendore said police learned that the man was known to the Secret Service.
"That was something in 2001 that would have gone unnoticed," Mullendore said.
Before 9/11, very little information from the federal government was shared with local jurisdictions, Mullendore said.
Holtzman said information-sharing, including tips on criminal activity, helps prevent crimes and close opened cases more efficiently.
Hagerstown's police department and the sheriff's office now have a combined record management system, Holtzman said.
Anderson noted that Washington County's Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program has been one of the state's most successful, with about 1,100 people completing the basic emergency preparation course since it started in April 2002.
A contingent of 12 to 15 reliable volunteers brings a lot of "pride and passion" to the program, Anderson said.
While CERT is not new to hurricane- and earthquake-prone areas such as Florida and California, Anderson said participation in the program has grown substantially since 9/11.