Bell Atlantic Mobile Donates Cell Phones And Pagers To Citizens Patrols In Each of Maryland's Hotspot Communities

BALTIMORE — Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier, and over 100 representatives from citizens patrol groups across Maryland join Bell Atlantic Mobile today to launch a major expansion of the wireless service company's anti-crime initiative, Citizen on Phone Patrol (COPP) program, to arm communities against crime.

At a ceremony in the Village Center of Poppleton in West Baltimore, Bell Atlantic Mobile is donating 36 cellular phones, pagers and continued service valued at over $34,000 to serve all of Maryland's "HotSpot" Communities -- neighborhoods identified by the state as being heavily impacted by crime -- and The Village Center of Poppleton.

Now volunteers who patrol their communities each night to deter crime will have free and instant access to 911. Bell Atlantic Mobile is the first private sector partner to the Maryland HotSpot Communities Initiative, launched by Governor Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in July 1997.

"Patrollers are out here every night trying to reclaim their streets from crime, violence and drugs," said Bell Atlantic Mobile Regional President Gary Schulman. "We want to arm them with the crucial link to police, so they can instantly report what they see, and law enforcement can respond quickly."

Bell Atlantic Mobile has donated more than 150 cellular phones plus cellular service in the Washington/Baltimore area during the past year through the COPP program. COPP was launched a year ago in cooperation with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association with support from Ericsson, Inc.

"Citizens who take time out of their busy lives to patrol their neighborhoods and assist police deserve the best equipment and all the support we can provide said," Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, co-chair of the Cabinet Council on Criminal & Juvenile Justice. "Bell Atlantic Mobile's generous gift to these volunteers across Maryland captures the spirit of partnership that the Maryland Hotspot Communities initiative is all about. Governor Parris N. Glendening and I are excited that Bell Atlantic Mobile has moved forward to become a model for the private sector, committing valuable resources to make our communities safer places to live."

"Because our neighborhood includes one of the most crime impacted areas in Maryland, with illegal drug activity and frequent violence, the Citizens on Phone Patrol program is essential for the survival of the community," said Everett Fullwood, public safety committee, Village Center of Poppleton. "We're glad to be working closely with the community police officer in our neighborhood's police substation on this effort."

"The generous donation by Bell Atlantic Mobile will certainly provide a vital technological link between citizens on patrol and officers," said Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier. "The Department looks forward to the continued positive partnerships with Baltimore communities."

Bell Atlantic Mobile, the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the U.S., is based in Bedminster, N.J., with regional headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.