Man with a plan: Officer chosen for statewide post

October 07, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

Howard County police Cpl. Kevin Costello is a man with a plan -- to improve law enforcement, not only in the county but statewide.

Corporal Costello recently became president of the Maryland Association of Police Planners, a statewide organization of police officials who share information and discuss policy and new methods to fight crime.

"I want to strive to increase the professionalism of law enforcement," said Corporal Costello, a five-year county police officer who works in the department's Research and Planning division.

Corporal Costello began his two-year term as president of the association Sept. 23, after a year as the group's vice president. As president, he hopes to promote new ideas to help police adapt to changes in police work.

"We prepare for the future," he said. "We're facing increased crime, budget restraints and lack of manpower. The goal is to do as much as we can with the resources we have." The association network represents officers from 40 law enforcement agencies, about half of the state's police departments.

Its membership includes representatives from Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Prince George's and Montgomery counties, as well as from the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority police.

Corporal Costello hopes the organization eventually will entice smaller departments to join.

The group meets about four times a year and discusses issues such as private prisoner transports, community-oriented policing, handicapped-accessible cells and a centralized booking system.

County Police Chief James N. Robey is reviewing a study by the department's Research and Planning Department evaluating private prisoner transports. The county would contract with a private security agency to deliver prisoners to a court commissioner, freeing the officer to respond to calls and do paperwork.

Corporal Costello feels the future of law enforcement lies in a better relationship with the public. His theory is based in the popular philosophy of community-oriented policing, an effort in which residents and police work together to deter crime, he said.

"We can't work without the community," he said. "The idea that police agencies are islands and untouchable is an idea of the past."

Corporal Costello's efforts extend beyond routine police duties.

Two weeks ago, he organized Cyclefest '94, a bicycle tour that raised $1,500 for the Maryland Special Olympics.

"Corporal Costello is an asset to the police department," Chief Robey said.

"His work ethic and devotion to improving the law enforcement profession is commendable."

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