Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mikulski Funds More Domestic Surveillance of Innocent Harford County Residents

\from The Dagger
From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced that $2,910,366 in federal grant funding has been awarded from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to municipalities across Maryland through the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program. These funds will be used to support public safety activities and reduce violent crime as well as crimes against victims and children throughout Maryland.

Senator Mikulski is Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee, which fund DOJ. Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

“I’ve heard from state and local police from all over Maryland and around the country that the lack of funding means fewer cops on our streets fighting gangs, drugs, and child predators and fewer prosecutions of criminals,” Senator Mikulski said. “State and local law enforcement have been stretched and stressed, forced to do more with less. That’s why I continue fighting so hard to put this funding in the federal checkbook. I am committed to giving law enforcement the tools they need to protect community safety, protect our families and fight crime.”

“Law enforcement officers across Maryland put their lives on the line daily safeguarding our communities. Ensuring officers have the tools and training they need to get the job done and come home safely has always been a top priority,” said Senator Cardin, whose Blue Alert legislation to expedite the apprehension of criminals who have threatened, injured or killed law enforcement officers was recently signed into law by President Obama. “With all the dangers law enforcement officers face on the job, they should know they have friends in Congress. I will continue to work with whomever is willing to make sure law enforcement officers across the country can continue to do their important work safely, effectively and with strong community support.”

This formula program allows state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime, and to improve the criminal justice system. Byrne JAG funding is fast, flexible and effective in helping states and communities address emerging crime problems.

Byrne JAG is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. Grants are administered through DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs, and awarded based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics. The program provides critical funding needed to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs.

Maryland law enforcement agencies receiving funds from the Byrne JAG program include the following:
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) – $1,011,443. The GOCCP will use these federal funds to help defray increased police overtime costs surrounding the civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray.

Anne Arundel County – $170,982. These federal funds will be used by Anne Arundel County to provide funding to organizations within the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

City of Baltimore – $693,488. The City of Baltimore will use these federal dollars to fund the continuation of crime prevention and strategies and crime prevention efforts of community based organizations.

Baltimore County – $321,447. These federal funds will be used by Baltimore County to continue the retention of six police officers to increase patrols and investigations in targeted areas of the county.

Cecil County – $27,950. These federal funds will be used by Cecil County to purchase a mobile digital data system and upgrade in-car camera systems.

Charles County – $42,450. Charles County will use these federal funds to support the Charles County Drug Court and to strengthen community relationships.

City of Frederick – $42,844. These federal funds will be used by the City of Frederick to purchase body cameras, upgrade security cameras and purchase computer equipment.

City of Hagerstown – $16,523. These federal funds will be used by the City of Hagerstown to deploy proactive and strategic policing strategies based on evidence-based policing. The goal of this project is to maximize law enforcement services in the city.

Harford County – $35,988. Harford County will use these federal funds to enhance use of license plate readers, purchase portable pocket protectors and HD cameras.

Howard County – $47,073. These federal funds will be used by Howard County to fund saturation patrol overtime and an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course refresher.

City of Laurel – $12,031. The City of Laurel will us these federal funds to purchase equipment to reduce violent encounters between police and citizens.

Montgomery County – $133,969. Montgomery County will use these federal funds to outfit 100 police officers with tasers.

Prince George’s County – $309,180. These federal funds will be used by Prince George’s County to fund upgrade A/V equipment in interrogation rooms, improve security measures for courthouses and improve forensic equipment for fire investigators.

City of Salisbury – $27,871. The City of Salisbury will use these federal funds to fund technology upgrades.

St. Mary’s County – $17,127. These federal funds will be used by St. Mary’s County to support a body camera program.
from Wikipedia:
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR; see also other names below) is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of electronic toll collection on pay-per-use roads and cataloging the movements of traffic or individuals.

ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the license plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver. Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of the day. ANPR technology tends to be region-specific, owing to plate variation from place to place.

Concerns about these systems have centered on privacy fears of government tracking citizens' movements, misidentification, high error rates, and increased government spending.

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