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O'Malley Signs SWAT, Speed Camera Bills

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning is signing more than 260 bills into law, including measures to require additional reporting for police SWAT teams, force more domestic abusers to forfeit their firearms and authorize speed cameras statewide in school zones and work zones.

The bills are being signed at the final in a series of scheduled ceremonies in the wake of the 90-day legislative session that ended last month.

Other bills being signed this morning will place new restrictions on police surveillance activities, tighten penalties on drunk drivers and require pawnbrokers to submit electronic records to help police find stolen merchandise.

In remarks at the outset of the ceremony, O'Malley and legislative leaders focused on the domestic violence bills, which give judges additional tools to prompt accused domestic abusers to surrender their firearms.

"This is probably the single most important step we've taken as a state ... but it's not enough," said Lt Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), whose cousin, Cathy was a victim of domestic violence last year.

Brown served as the O'Malley administration's point person on the legislation during the session.

Also attending this morning's ceremony is Cheye M. Calvo, the mayor of Berwyn Heights, and his wife. The couple's two black Labradors were killed last year during an errant SWAT team raid of their home by Prince George's police.

"It is meaningful to us that something good has come out of the terrible tragedy of last summer," Calvo said as he waited for O'Malley to sign a bill requiring new reporting requirements for SWAT teams. "Hopefully, it will be a first step in being able to better police our communities."

By Phyllis Jordan  |  May 19, 2009; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Comments

If you don't like these speed cameras you should look into getting a gps camera detector like www.gpsangel.com

Posted by: macuser25 | May 19, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Help us ban these speed cameras. All MD Voters: sign, get a witness, and mail in the petition no later than friday this week

http://www.MDScamera.com/petition

DO NOT DELAY

Posted by: danz1 | May 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of the surveillance society.

But I'm also not a big fan of getting killed by speeders. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in my demographic.

The fixed-location cameras that everybody slams on the brakes for are just stupid and greedy; they raise revenue but actually decrease safety.

But consider what the Australians do: they have lots of mobile, unmarked camera cars. Everyone pretty much obeys the speed limit at all times; it's a good thing.

So, I'm all for the speed cameras, if they're implemented properly (but I'm not holding my breath; our governmental entities here seem to have a boundless capacity for ineptitude).

Posted by: DupontJay | May 19, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dupontjay - why is it that speed camera opponents feel so strongly about their "right" to speed past elementary schools and other pedestrian-heavy areas. If you must speed, don't do it in the camera-zones. These cameras are proven to slow down drivers by elementary schools and for those who just dont get it...they will pay the fine. These are a cost-effective law-enforcement tool that can help save our tax-dollars. No one can deny those facts.

Posted by: free-donny | May 19, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

There is no right to speed. There is a right to face an accuser however, and a right to be innocent until proven guilty. Plus evidence is currently being submitted by a contractor with a financial conflict of interest and who gets paid only if you are found guilty, a situation which would be considered highly improper with any other type of offense. Take those away people's legal rights and this is just highway robbery.

Effective? Go to any speed camera site and watch people slow down AT the camera and speed up right away after. According to the monthly police reports on the Chevy Chase Village website, from March 2006-January2007 (before speed cams) the average accident rates in Chevy Chase Village was 11.545/month. The average for the most recent year from May 2008-April 2009 was 11.833/month. Despite the claims they have made to the media Chevy Chase Village has seen NO OVERALL REDUCTION IN ACCIDENTS since it installed speed cameras.

Cost effective? For what Chevy Chase village pays its contractor every month, they could purchase 40 radar speed display signs per month, devices which are proven to be every bit as effective at slowing people down as speed cameras. You won't hear speed camera supporters talking about alternative solutions because they don't expand government power or allow the milking of out of town visitors.

Sign the petition for referendum at mdscamera.com and help give The People the only vote they will every get on this issue.

Posted by: afpre42 | May 20, 2009 5:11 AM | Report abuse

It is wrong to deny someone their right to keep and bear arms based solely upon an accusation.

Posted by: NeverLeft | May 20, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Actually folks, I heard tin-foil hats are effective in blocking speed-camera signals...but you already suspected that.

Posted by: free-donny | May 20, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

It is paranoid to think we need machines to monitor everyone in order to be safe. Go bubble wrap yourself Donny.

Posted by: afpre42 | May 21, 2009 5:28 AM | Report abuse

apre42...apparently, my tin-foil hat comment injured your feelings and I feel I should explain it was not meant that way...merely an attempt at levity. I'm just amazed at the opposition to speed cameras and the lengths at which some posters will go...when all they are being asked to do is slow down a bit while driving past a school zone.

Uh, perhaps we'll never agree on this one.

TGIF everyone...

Posted by: free-donny | May 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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