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Many of Maryland’s highest-ranking criminal investigators gathered recently at the School of Education’s Columbia Center to discuss the use of police video from body cameras in criminal investigations and collaboration between police and sheriffs’ departments in preventing the influx of illegal drugs through state waterways.

Michael Berkow, an SOE graduate and director of the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service, discussed current trends in drug smuggling and his agency’s efforts to support state and local police. In addition, Effrem Norwood, CEO of Bluering, a leading expert in retrieving and redacting videos from body cameras, discussed adapting proven medical models of video retrieval for law enforcement.

The presentations, part of the Criminal Investigations Commanders Forum, were followed by open conversation on topics such as investigative case management and the skills, tenure and rotation of criminal investigators. Another issue raised during the open forum focused on evaluating investigator performance. Sheldon Greenberg, a professor in the Division of Public Safety Leadership and founder of the forum, and William McMahon, interim executive director of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC) led the session.

“We have to be better at working cooperatively across agencies if we are to succeed in preventing and reducing serious crimes,” said Greenberg. “Criminal enterprises are becoming more sophisticated in taking advantage of police agency boundaries and parochialism. The forum is one of the ways in which law enforcement leaders are working together to share and build on their successes, support new initiatives and meet the challenges posed by recent increases in violence.”

The Criminal Investigations Commanders Forum is sponsored by SOE’s Division of Public Safety Leadership and the Maryland Police and Correction Training Commissions. It was established to provide an opportunity for specialists to share their experiences, concerns, needs and innovations. The group, which meets regularly, has been in existence for over 15 years and is one of the only groups of its kind in the nation. Other groups sponsored by SOE and MPCTC are the Regional Police Field Commanders Forum (precinct, district and barrack commanders) and the Police Internal Affairs Commanders Forum.

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