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County Officials Begin Plans To Increase Driver Safety

THE AFRO — Prince George’s County’s top three law enforcers spent part of tax day in “a driveby” to save lives.  County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Police Chief Hank Stawinski drove through neighborhoods and on major thoroughfares and began trying to change the mindset of motorists to avoid distractions when behind the wheel that have been fatal during the first quarter of 2019.

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By Mark F. Gray

Prince George’s County’s top three law enforcers spent part of tax day in “a driveby” to save lives.  County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Police Chief Hank Stawinski drove through neighborhoods and on major thoroughfares and began trying to change the mindset of motorists to avoid distractions when behind the wheel that have been fatal during the first quarter of 2019.

Alsobrooks and Stawinski spent Monday morning cruising through the County and stopping vehicles whose operators were violating basic driving safety laws spreading the message of non-distracted driving.  The County Executive feels by reinforcing Maryland’s hands free laws, that require drivers not to text, program GPS coordinates or use their mobile with their hands while driving, will reduce the amount traffic related fatalities which are plaguing the area.

“Consistent messaging does change behavior,” Alsobrooks said to the AFRO. “We’re going back to reaffirming what driver safety is. We expect to see a change in behavior over time.”

Alsobrooks and Stawinski have seen the practice of consistent messaging work in reducing the amount of major crimes throughout Prince George’s County, such as their work towards domestic violence when the County Executive was State’s Attorney. Alsobrooks notes there was a 20 percent reduction in domestic violence cases in 2018 through greater community awareness and understanding how to report incidents. Their hope is for heightened awareness strategies will have the effect on driver safety.

“We’re clearly committed to reducing the number of fatalities on our roads,” Stawinski said. “We’re seeing the kind of progress we need to see but we’re asking the community to do more.”

Their plans, which both acknowledge will take some time to achieve the desired impact, are still a work in progress as the county grows. Commercial and residential redevelopment continue to bring more drivers into the County adding to traffic congestion and more distracted drivers on the roads. Despite the tragic start of the year, especially in southern Maryland on I-210 between Oxon Hill and Acockeek, 2018 marked the significant drop in the number of driving fatalities since 2014.

Five years ago when the proliferation of speed cameras and checkpoints began on Indian Head Highway, there were 69 driver related deaths compared to 54 homicides. Each year since there has been a steady decline. Last year there were 49 traffic fatalities.

“This community is rapidly evolving and this department is evolving to meet their needs,” Stawinski said. “The number of fatal collisions have reduced year after year.”

While educating drivers remains paramount, Prince George’s leaders remain committed to enforcing the traffic laws already on the books. Drivers who are distracted will feel the wrath of law enforcement authorities who have been empowered to write more tickets for drivers who text or have their hands full while driving.

The generation of new drivers who are addicted to their mobile devices are being urged to remember that texting and social media updates while being behind the wheel can lead to criminal charges or much worse.

“It doesn’t matter what age,” Alsobrooks said. “Drivers have to remain focused on the road.”

Braveboy promises to fully prosecute those who are driving impaired and cause a fatal accident.

“There is nothing worse than someone who is not wearing a seatbelt and involved in a collision,” Braveboy said. “Limbs can be severed or lead to something even worse. It can be heartbreaking for families when they can’t leave the casket open during the funeral.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Bay Area

Sen. Wiener, Mayor Breed Announce Bill to Shut Down Fencing of Stolen Goods

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods. Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

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By Oakland Post Staff

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods.

Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

“The sale of stolen items in San Francisco has created unsafe street conditions and health and safety hazards that have negatively impacted residents, businesses, City workers, and legitimate street vendors,” states a statement released by the mayor’s office.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief Bill Scott praised the effort.

“I want to thank Mayor Breed and Senator Wiener for identifying new ways to combat the illegal fencing of stolen goods. This will help our hard-working officers continue to make progress in cracking down on retail theft,” said Scott.

Under the legislation, San Francisco can require vendors to obtain a permit to be able to sell items deemed as frequently stolen by asking for documentation that the merchandise was obtained legitimately, such as showing proof of purchase.

The legislation also establishes that those in violation would receive an infraction for the first two offenses and an infraction or a misdemeanor and up to six months in county jail for the third offense.

Under this bill, people can still:

  • Sell goods with a permit
  • Sell prepared food with a permit
  • Sell goods on the list of frequently stolen items with a permit and proof of purchase.

“In San Francisco we are working hard to make our streets safer and more welcoming for all. SB 925 would greatly help us get a handle on the sale of stolen goods, all while taking a narrow approach that specifically targets bad actors,” said Breed.

Wiener says the cultural richness of San Francisco and the livelihoods of legitimate street vendors are threatened when bad actors are allowed to openly sell stolen goods on the city’s streets.

“With this bill we’re taking a balanced approach that respects the critical role street vending plays in our community while holding fencing operations accountable for the disruption they cause. It’s critical that everyone feel safe on our streets, including street vendors and neighborhood residents,” said Wiener.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. “80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

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“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”
“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

Washington, D.C.  – Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

“80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

“My father, Lt. Col. Garvin A. Tutt, was a Buffalo soldier in the 92nd infantry, a racially segregated and Black-only division that was instrumental in the success of Normandy and the Allied advance. Today and every day, I think of him and all of the brave servicemembers who sacrificed for our country, even when our country didn’t love them back.

“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

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