Regional Law Enforcement Compact Initiated in Harford County

(Bel Air, Md. – April 20, 2006) — Harford County Sheriff R. Thomas Golding is pleased to announce the signing of a regional law enforcement compact agreement with the Town of Bel Air and the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace. The agreement serves as a mutual aid agreement between the three municipalities and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office during both emergency and non-emergency situations.

The compact authorizes the Sheriff of Harford County or the chief of police from each of the three municipal jurisdictions, to request law enforcement assistance from any other party to the compact. The compact further authorizes the sheriff and each of the chiefs of police, to undertake mutual or joint law enforcement operations to the extent permitted by state law.

Additionally, whenever any police officer of any of the municipalities, while on official duty, or off duty operating an emergency vehicle, and observes any crime or serious traffic offense in progress in any jurisdiction of the county, that police officer is now authorized to take appropriate action. However, the compact specifies that when municipal officers take action outside of their respective jurisdiction, they must do so in compliance with the policies and regulations of the officer’s home agency and in accordance with law.

Pursuant to agreement, each party to the compact will waive all claims it might have against any other party to the compact for property damage or personal injury arising out of requests for mutual aid and assistance. Additionally, police officers, or employees when acting pursuant to the compact beyond territorial limits of the jurisdiction in which they are commissioned or employed, have all the immunities from liability and exemptions from laws, ordinances and regulations during the course of their duties.

Commenting on signing the compact, Chief Leo Matrangola of Bel Air stated, "Law enforcement in Harford County all have a mutual goal of ensuring highway safety. This compact, and particularly provisions allowing traffic enforcement outside of our respective jurisdictions, will reduce unnecessary delays and thus improve traffic safety."

Chief Randy Rudy of Aberdeen stated, "the Regional Law Enforcement Compact is another example of the leadership provided by Sheriff Golding, who initiated this undertaking. The compact will benefit all of the citizens in the county by expanding the capability of local law enforcement, particularly during potentially life threatening circumstances." Also commenting on the compact was Chief Teresa Walter of the Havre de Grace Police Department. Chief Walter stated, "The revised Regional Law Enforcement Compact allows for resources which are available by the Sheriff and local law enforcement to be deployed immediately to help resolve emergencies and provide for enhanced public safety."

Finally, regarding the recently revised law enforcement compact, Sheriff Golding remarked, "Local law enforcement officers now have the authority to act when they observe serious violations of the Transportation Article, or other violations of criminal law committed in their presence. The compact is yet another tool for law enforcement in Harford County to help ensure the safety of our citizens."

Press Release

April 20, 2006