Agencies will use lessons learned from Maryland Live!, unified approach to law enforcement at casino

When Maryland Live!  Opened in Anne Arundel County, the plan was to be over prepared rather than underprepared.

“We think we had a great plan considering we didn’t really have a blueprint for something like this happening in our area,” said Lt. T.J. Smith with the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Similarly, officials with the Baltimore Police Department began planning law enforcement coverage for the new Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore months in advance. 

They won’t be working alone.

The new ‘Casino Mini-District’ will be in close communication with other law enforcement agencies, including but not limited to Anne Arundel County.

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"We are working as a team, we're working together, regular communications,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said in a June interview. “I think it is a plus for us. I think it is laying the groundwork for other people to see.  It is a benchmark and I think I am very proud to say, with my peers that we are doing a good job here in setting a precedent."

Police, statewide, will work together to track and fight casino-bred crime.

It is a precedent that may be set for the nation.

Once reserved for just a couple of cities, casinos are now popping up in major metropolitan areas around the country creating a fairly new policing issue for many cities; jurisdictions that now may look to the newest kid at the table for the best practices in how to keep people in and around the gaming venues safe.    

“We know this is going to be yet another area that draws in a lot of tourists and we want to be able to show our city in the best light and so it is very important to have some very well trained professional officers out there," said Baltimore City Lieutenant Col. Melissa Hyatt.

Hyatt is charged with heading up what the BPD is calling the Casino Mini-District.

While the department won't cop to how many officers will be involved just yet, they are taking plenty of advice from Anne Arundel County on the lessons that were force learned with Maryland Live!

"It is very beneficial for us that instead of re-inventing the wheel with this project and not knowing what to expect, we've been able to reach out to our peers and they've been honest and forthright with telling us these are the things that went well and these are the things we wish we had done differently and that's a huge advantage for us," Hyatt said.

 

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