Anne Arundel County officials began participation yesterday in a national program intended to collect unwanted wireless phones, refurbish them and donate them to victims of domestic abuse.
The goal is to gather 300 wireless phones from nine collection centers around the county through April 30. The effort is being jump-started by a donation of 25 phones from Nextel Communications Inc. and Motorola Inc.
"Victims of domestic violence feel themselves in danger," said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, who joined with Sheriff George F. Johnson IV to announce participation in the Call to Protect program. "Having a phone can help alleviate that danger."
Call to Protect was established in 1996 by members of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, Motorola and the Wireless Foundation.
"To date nationwide, we've placed 30,000 phones in the hands of domestic violence victims," said Nick Sample, the Nextel area vice president.
Johnson said Anne Arundel decided to take part in the Call to Protect program because of the large number of domestic violence cases handled each year. About 1,450 domestic violence incidents were reported in 2001.