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Friday, June 24, 2016

PGFD Earns a NACO Award for Adopt-A-Neighborhood Smoke Alarm Program

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Press Release

For immediate release:
June 23, 2016

For more information contact:
Scott L. Peterson
Press Secretary, Office of the County Executive

Prince George’s County Earns 5 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards

County honored in Community/Economic Development, Administration Management, Justice and Public Safety, Infrastructure, Energy, and Sustainability, and Human Services categories
Upper Marlboro, MD –   The Prince George’s County government has been recognized for five Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents. The following five programs were chosen in their respective categories:
  • The Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department’s “Adopt-A-Neighborhood” program was recognized in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety category.
  • The Prince George’s County’s Department of Social Services was recognized in the Human Services category for their “Community Resource Advocate” program which is a part of the County’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative, County Executive Baker’s signature community-based program.
  • In the County Administration Management category, the “Story of DPIE,” the creation of the County’s new Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement was recognized. 
  • In the Community/Economic Development Category, NACo recognized “The Prince George's County Department of Environment and Corvias Solutions Public-Private Partnership” for the County’s stormwater retrofitting program. 
  • The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation’s “Public Private Partnership for Wetlands Restoration” was recognized in the County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability category.
 “When I took office over five and half years ago, I did not want an administration that was just going to follow best practices, I wanted to hire leaders who were going to engage the Prince George’s County government employees to create and execute our own best practices for others to follow,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.  “By earning an unprecedented five awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Prince George’s County government is turning heads amongst our peers from around the nation.  I want to congratulate the employees and the departments for earning and achieving this recognition.  I also want to let the citizens of Prince George’s County know that we are still not satisfied and we are going to keep innovating and working hard to become a more effective, efficient and exemplary government committed to serving our residents, visitors, and stakeholders.”

NACo President Sallie Clark, commissioner, El Paso County, Colo., said, “County governments are leading the way in providing better, more innovative services to residents. The National Association of Counties applauds these Achievement Award-winning counties for outstanding efforts to strengthen communities across the country. ”

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. Nationally, awards are given in 21 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2016 Annual Conference and Exposition July 22–25 in Los Angeles County, Calif. 

The Adopt-A-Neighborhood (AAN) program is a proactive program, collaboratively funded and operated, through the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.  Participating churches and businesses fund smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and awareness literature that the Fire/EMS Department provides to residents in targeted areas around Prince George’s County.  Currently, there are eight (8) businesses and churches that have donated nearly $30,000 to cover the costs of the program.  Materials and/or funds are donated to the Fire Chief’s non-profit Community Advisory Council, who then provides smoke alarms, CO detectors, and literature to the Fire/EMS Department. 

The program was launched when the Firefighters/Paramedics Union and clergy leadership agreed to donate smoke alarms and CO detectors after two fatal house fires.  This assisted the County’s Fire/EMS Department with canvassing those specific neighborhoods, with both entities agreeing to provide meeting space for those communities to come together for proactive fire prevention and public education meetings.  With the added use of technology to pinpoint target areas, since its inception the program has enabled an internet-based community tracking mechanism that allows donors to follow program effectiveness.  This is the first program of its kind in this region and possibly across the country. 

For additional stories about our Adopt-A-Neighborhood program click here, herehere and here.

“Community Resource Advocate Program”
As part of the Prince George’s County Executive’s signature Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI), in 2013, Prince George’s County Public Schools and the County Government launched a partnership designed to mitigate social issues that prevent at-risk youth from achieving academic success.  This partnership is referred to as TNI@School.   Thirty-one (31) schools currently are served through the TNI@School program.

Through a  signature element of the TNI@School program,  the County Department of Social Services employs school-based personnel, Community Resource Advocates (CRAs), whose role is to connect students and their families to services and support systems, serve as a liaison for the County Department of Social Services and Prince George’s County Public Schools for foster youth and other students placed in their assigned schools, and otherwise support school administrators in mitigating social factors so that teachers can focus on academic enrichment.   

CRAs are located in each of the 31 schools served through TNI@School. During the 2014-2015 school year, the CRAs served over 1,937 students, of which 411 students received clinical behavioral health services; 446 students were enrolled in programs providing after school enrichment; 61 students received intensive case management for a variety of issues, and 563 students received college and career readiness services. So far in the 2015-2016 school year, CRAs have served over 961 students. 

“Story of DPIE”
The Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (commonly known as DPIE) is the newest department in Prince George’s County.  DPIE was originally conceived as a response to continuing criticism of the County’s permitting and licensing processes lodged by representatives of the County’s economic development community. DPIE is the keynote initiative of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III for improving the County’s capacity to meet the needs of developers and businesses seeking permits and licenses from the County in a timely and proficient manner. DPIE brings together staff from nine County, bi-County, and State agencies under one-roof so that customers can access related services required for issuing a permit or license in one place.

DPIE has achieved dramatic improvements in various service measures through organizational transformation, process improvement, technology enhancement, staffing optimization, office space rehabilitation, performance monitoring and reporting and staff recognition. This includes an 88 percent increase in revenues between fiscal years 2014 and 2016; a doubling of permit, plan review and inspection activity, and a 63-95 percent reduction in the time needed to process various permits and licenses. All this was accomplished without increasing staff or outsourcing.

“Prince George's County and Corvias Solutions Clean Water Partnership” 
The Prince George’s County and Corvias Solutions Public-Private Partnership (P3), also called the Clean Water Partnership (CWP), is an agreement between County government and the private sector to retrofit up to 4,000 acres of impervious surfaces using green infrastructure.  It’s the first-ever P3 model to address stormwater at this scale.

The CWP will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain urban stormwater infrastructure in order to meet Prince George’s County’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit compliance requirements. This pioneering P3 approach will leverage private sector best practices and efficiencies to deliver functional and sustainable stormwater infrastructure with accelerated project timelines and reduced costs.

“Public Private Partnership for Wetlands Restoration”
In Prince George’s County, the opportunities for creating wetlands and restoring streams are complicated by various constraints, including lack of suitable land within a highly urbanized watershed. The urbanization of the County includes roadways and associated infrastructure requiring maintenance and on occasion, widening and replacing bridge structures and roads in order to accommodate increased traffic capacity or safety needs.  Inevitably, wetlands, stream habitats, and forest canopy may be negatively impacted by roadway and bridge improvement projects. 

Through the development of this innovative public-private partnership, we were able to access and utilize federal lands that had previously been unavailable to the County. This site had been used historically as a spray irrigation field (SIF) by the USDA. The entire 25 acre SIF will be restored including forested wetlands, uplands and low order, headwater streams.  Prince George's County will be using approximately 5 acres of the SIF an additional 5+ acres will be restored to provide mitigation for other important transportation projects located in PGCO, with the balance restored using fees collected in lieu (ILF) by the Maryland Department of Environment for historic wetland impacts in the Anacostia Watershed. 

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