GREENBELT— Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan, Mayor Pro Tem Judith Davis and city councilmembers assembled for a city council meeting to discuss various issues facing the community, including the police department’s resolution to authorize the negotiated purchase of police service weapons, at the Greenbelt Municipal Building on April 8.
Citing a number of the city’s environmental sustainability initiatives, Jordan proclaimed Saturday, April 13, as Earth Day in Greenbelt and urged residents to join efforts with city leaders to protect and preserve the “beauty of our earth’s lands, skies and waters.”
After Jordan made a telecommunications week proclamation, Greenbelt Police Chief Rick Bowers introduce the department’s newest police officer, Leon Scales. The oath of office was administered by Jordan. Following the oath of office, Aaron Marcavitch, executive director of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, provided an update on the organization.
GPD is in the process of replacing the duty weapons carried by officers and has received proposals from three separate vendors: Atlantic Tactical, Firing Line, LLC and Maryland Small Arms. Each vendor provided pricing for replacement of all duty weapons and compatible holsters needed for carrying.
The purchase options based on the quotes received were from Atlantic Tactical (handguns – $33,645.00; holsters – $5,388.60; subtotal: $39,033.60), Firing Line, LLC (handguns – $31,875.00; holsters – $5,572.00; subtotal: $37,447.00) and MD Small Arms (handguns: $48,750.00; holsters – $6,735.75; subtotal: $55,485.75).
In response to a question from Councilman Colin Byrd, Bowers said Atlantic Tactical is a large regional dealer with superior customer support though its price exceeds Firing Line.
“So there’s a different level of customer service that we think is worth the extra couple of dollars,” Bowers said.
The Community Advocates for Family and the Youth Victim Witness Assistance Program was another major point of emphasis during the meeting.
“The Greenbelt Police Department is seeking a partnership with Community Advocates for Family and Youth, Inc.,” Jordan said. “CAFY will provide services for the victims of crime that occur in the city of Greenbelt.”
Sergeant Seung Lee was in attendance to provide the city council with an overview for CAFY, Inc., which extends a variety of education and outreach programs for victims of crime in Prince George’s County.
“When I got here, one of the things I noticed with our organization is that we didn’t offer a very robust outreach to our victims of crime,” Bowers said before he turned it over to Lee.
“Our detectives followed up, and they were able to a lot of really good things but at some point, we weren’t able to continue to provide services to some of our victims, particularly some of the most needy victims. And so an opportunity presented itself with this particular group CAFY.”
CAFY, according to Bowers, provides victim witness services – a major outreach the GPD does not currently have and is looking to incorporate. The idea of the partnership was introduced in a recent meeting by the Police Chief’s Association of Prince George’s County, Bowers continued.
Lee gave a brief history of CAFY before explaining what its partnership with the Greenbelt Police Department will mean for the community. CAFY works directly with victims affected by violent crimes like homicides, sexual assault and robberies, he said, while providing a variety of counseling services.
“What this program allows us to do is for the police to focus on our job of investigating, particularly detectives on investigating the cases. They (CAFY) are the liaisons and provide the service to the victims,” Lee said.
“It’s a great service they provide, it doesn’t cost us anything and we are seeking to join them in this endeavor.”
In addition, the Greenbelt Police Department is seeking to join other local law enforcement agencies in the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network Site (MCIN). The MCIN Site is a state-funded grant to the City of Hyattsville (jurisdiction in which the Greenbelt Police Department is included). MCIN’s primary purpose is to develop a robust information structure that enables cross-jurisdictional sharing of accurate and actionable intelligence to efficiently and effectively identify criminal networks (e.g. gangs). Lee and Bowers outlined how the MCIN will help GPD’s investigative work.
Toward the latter portion of the meeting, the city council discussed the “Greenbelt 20 Minute Cleanup Initiative,” an action suggested by Byrd. The proposed motion encouraged Greenbelt residents to pick up litter anywhere in the city for at least 20 minutes sometime this April.
“Really what I wanted to do is make a motion is that we… as a body would encourage Greenbelt residents, in addition to our Earth Day initiatives, to pick up litter anywhere in Greenbelt,” Byrd said. “Perhaps they could focus on their own neighborhoods for just 20 minutes. It’s a small commitment but it’s a very specific ask, which I think makes it a lot more actionable.”
The motion was seconded by Jordan, and other councilmembers gave their perspectives on the idea.
To wrap up the evening, Jordan discussed the WMATA Trail development and Greenbelt Metro Station. Terri Hruby, Director of Planning and Community Development with the City of Greenbelt, gave an update and estimated that the trail – about a one-eighth mile stretch between the new housing in the South Core of the Greenbelt Station development and the Greenbelt Metro Station – will be completed by November 2020.
Also making an appearance was the Eleanor Roosevelt High School boys’ basketball team, the 2019 MPSSAA 4-A state champions, who were recognized by Mayor Jordan and the city council.
Jordan and Davis announced council activities and reports before the gathering adjourned. The city council will convene again on April 17 for a budget work session.