Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Partners Honor Law Enforcement Officers and Others for Their Contributions to “Wicomico Exile” Gun Crime Program
U.S. Attorney Lauds “Partnership that Promotes Public Safety”
Salisbury, Maryland - Leaders of the local, state and federal agency partners joined together at a meeting in Salisbury today to present Wicomico EXILE Achievement Awards to law enforcement officers and three local prosecutors whose outstanding work resulted in significant firearms or violent crime cases, announced United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Davis R. Ruark. Awards were also presented to an employee of Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, Wicomico County Detention Center and the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for their overall contributions to the EXILE program. A list of those receiving awards is at the end of this press release.
“Thanks to the unprecedented coordination of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, criminals are getting the message that gun crime equals jail time,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This is a partnership that promotes public safety. Criminals who are behind bars cannot carry guns in Wicomico County.”
“I am extremely pleased with the cooperation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Attorney’s Office and state and local law enforcement agencies,” said Wicomico State’s Attorney Davis R. Ruark. “With the high rates of violent and handgun offenses in Wicomico county, these partnerships are necessary in order to send the strongest possible message that violent crimes are not tolerated. Together we will do whatever is required in order to ensure that offenders are removed from our wonderful community.”
“We hope to send a message to violent offenders that the use and possession of firearms to promote or facilitate illegal activities will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Baltimore Field Division. “Through law enforcement partnerships and programs like Wicomico EXILE, we are holding those violent criminal offenders accountable for their actions, and we are seeking justice for the victims of crime and their families.”
Wicomico Exile is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime that combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness. The strategy is based on a partnership among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, with the assistance of community activists, educators, and civic and faith-based organizations.
The criminal prosecution and law enforcement strategy also addresses training and strategic planning through gang intelligence gathering, targeted enforcement and investigations, and aggressive federal and local prosecutions.
Under Wicomico Exile, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) work with other federal agencies to support the mission of our local prosecutors and police by investigating and prosecuting as many significant firearms cases as possible and by using the prospect of federal prosecution to encourage defendants to take prompt guilty pleas to firearms charges in state court.
Violent Repeat Offenders
Under Wicomico Exile’s Violent Repeat Offender (VRO) initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State’s Attorney’s Office, Parole/Probation, local law enforcement, ATF, and other agencies team up to target offenders/organizations identified by local authorities as among of the area’s most violent.
Defendants who are convicted federally for firearms possession or firearms-related offenses in Wicomico County may be sent to federal prison facilities outside of Maryland to serve their sentences, including federal prisons in Colorado, Oklahoma and Florida.
A key component of Wicomico Exile is a media/public relations campaign to send a message to criminals and to the broader community that any felon who carries a gun in Wicomico County is going to jail – that criminals will do hard time for gun crime. The campaign is designed to alert offenders to the crackdown on gun crime and to energize the community to support law enforcement efforts and, in particular, their local police. The Wicomico EXILE partners conduct outreach to schools, faith-based organizations and various other community groups while distributing crime awareness materials. From July 2006 until September 2008, members of the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office made 153 presentations to the community.
Wicomico Exile is a joint effort by the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, the City of Salisbury Police Department under Chief Allan Webster, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Mike Lewis, the Fruitland Police Department under Chief Michael Phillips, the Delmar Police Department under Chief Harold Saylor, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Maryland Division of Correction, ATF, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Wicomico County EXILE Awards (2009)
Wicomico County State’s Attorneys Office:
1. Sam Vincent (Deputy State’s Attorney)
2. Dan Dougherty (Assistant State’s Attorney)
3. Patrizia Coletta (Assistant State’s Attorney)
4. Carolyn Widdowson (EXILE Grant Project Director)
Salisbury Police Department:
1. Corporal Jason King
2. Detective Dan Parsons
3. Officer Troy Underwood
4. Officer Chad Crockett
Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office:
1. Corporal Kelly Matthews
2. Deputy First Class Lee Stevens
3. Trooper First Class Otis Elzey
Maryland State Police:
1. Sgt. Chris Davala
2. Corporal Lee Hagel
3. Trooper First Class Jason Smullen
4. Trooper First Class Carlisle Todd Widdowson
1. Agent Heather Hall (Division of Parole and Probation)
2. Intelligence Officer Oscar Arce (Department of Corrections)
Drug Enforcement Administration:
1. Special Agent Dave Rivello
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
1. Special Agent Matthew Beccio