Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, Prince George's Sheriff Michael A. Jackson Commit to Strengthened Partnership in Fight Against Domestic Violence
UPPER MARLBORO, MD (June 11, 2009) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined Prince George’s Sheriff Michael A. Jackson, local officials from Prince George’s County and advocates from the House of Ruth and Family Crisis Center for a tour of the Sheriff’s Office and a press conference touting the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to prevent domestic violence murders. Prior to the tour and press conference, Brown led a roundtable conversation with law enforcement personnel and members of the Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit.
During the 2009 legislative session, Brown led the O’Malley-Brown efforts to pass two bills that would remove firearms from abusive situations. The bills, which both passed with overwhelming majorities, give judges the authority to require the surrender of firearms by an alleged abuser when a temporary protective order is in place and require judges to order the surrender during a final protective order. Last year, 75 Marylanders, including 11 Prince Georgians, were killed as a result of domestic violence, more than half of them by a firearm.
“The legislation Governor O’Malley signed last month will do more to prevent murders and save lives in Maryland than anything else we’ve done in two years,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “Still, by working together, we can do more. We must protect the investments we’ve made in proven programs and we must stand with local sheriff’s departments and local government who provide the vital services that will help us win the fight against domestic violence.”
When a firearm is surrendered, local sheriff’s departments are tasked with removing and storing the firearm during the time of the protective order. Sheriff Jackson, who testified in favor of both pieces of legislation, invited Brown to tour the Sheriff’s Department supply services property division and the holding rooms for surrendered weapons. During the tour, Jackson described the protocol and procedures to store, inspect and return firearms when they are surrendered and briefed Brown on the County’s Domestic Violence Unit.
“Our partnership with State leaders has only strengthened our commitment to the victims of abuse and has added another tool at our disposal to help eradicate this affliction on so many innocent victims,” Sheriff Michael A. Jackson said.
The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Domestic Violence Unit was created as a pilot program in 2005. The unit serves District 3 of the Prince George’s County Police Department which includes Capitol Heights, Suitland and Seat Pleasant and employs 65 staff: one captain, three lieutenants, six sergeants, 43 deputies, seven support staff and five advocates, including one who is bilingual. The Domestic Violence Unit handles all orders related to domestic violence and provides child custody and emergency psychiatry services.
“Last year 10,234 calls for help rang into our 911 center as a result of Domestic Violence. In every instance the lives of these victims will be changed forever,” said Vernon Herron, Prince George’s County Deputy Chief Administrative Office for Public Safety/Director of Homeland Security. “With this new legislation and partnership with the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department and the Prince George’s Police Department we hope not only to reduce those calls for help but to one day eliminate all incidences of Domestic Violence.”
Through the Governor’s Grants Office and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), the State has awarded 59 individual grants totaling more than $1.8 million through the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, including 8 grants totaling more than $275,000 in Prince George’s County. In addition, GOCCP provided Prince George’s County with nearly $55,000 for Domestic Violence Intake Advocacy and $24,000 for a Domestic Violence Coordinator.
Last summer, Brown’s cousin Cathy was shot and killed in Montgomery Village by her estranged boyfriend.
About O’Malley-Brown Domestic Violence Bills
SB 267/ HB296 – Final Protective Orders
- This legislation requires a judge to order the respondent in a final protective order to surrender any firearms (handguns and long guns) in respondent’s possession and refrain from possessing any firearm for the duration of the protective order.
- Bill was amended to include the following: A law enforcement officer must provide information to the respondent on the process for retaking the firearm. In addition, the officer must transport and store the firearm in a protective case, if one is available, and in a manner intended to prevent damage to the firearm during the time the protective order is in effect. The respondent is authorized to retake possession of the firearm at the expiration of the final protective order unless the protective order is extended or the respondent is not otherwise legally entitled to own or possess the firearm.
- Take effect October 1, 2009.
SB 268/ HB302 – Temporary Protective Orders
- This legislation authorizes (but does not require) a judge to order the respondent in a temporary protective order to surrender any firearms in the respondent’s possession and refrain from possessing any firearm for the duration of the temporary protective order.
- Current law does not authorize a judge to order the surrender of any forearm.
- Takes effect October 1, 2009.