Carroll Digest

CARROLL COUNTY DIGEST

February 02, 2005

National group accredits county's child-abuse unit

The National Children's Alliance has fully accredited the county's child abuse sexual assault unit, after voting Saturday to give the agency full membership.

"We are moving ahead," said William Knight, deputy director of the Carroll County Department of Social Services. "We have achieved accreditation and now we are moving on to excellence."

The division had only temporary certification since the fall of 2003 after a site visit from the alliance revealed shortcomings that have since been remedied.

"Every single recommended change has been taken care of," said Jolene G. Sullivan, county director of citizens services.

The full accreditation, which is valid for five years, will assure the agency of a $10,000 grant from the alliance. "Everyone associated with this effort is pleased with the results that we have achieved in a short time," said State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes.

The division also has a new name. It is now known as the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center.

"Advocacy for all folks is our strongest piece," Sullivan said.

County to spend $246,735 on communications vehicle

The Carroll County commissioners authorized the purchase yesterday of a communications vehicle that will ensure a coordinated regional response during a terrorist incident or natural disaster.

The county will buy the equipment from Farber Specialty Vehicles of Columbus, Ohio, for $246,735. Delivery will be in July.

"The vehicle will serve as a relay to back up 911 centers outside the county," said William E. Martin, the county's emergency management coordinator. "It will also help us develop redundant communication capabilities."

Commissioners urged to require sprinklers

Representatives of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association asked the Carroll County commissioners yesterday to pass a law requiring sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings, which the association said would not only save lives and property but delay the need for a paid force to serve the growing population.

Richard A. Green Sr., second vice president of the association and assistant chief of Gamber & Community Volunteer Fire Company, said an ordinance passed by Mount Airy provided the basis for their proposal.

"We feel this would be the most significant [tool] that you could give to the fire service today," Green said. He said such systems reduce costs and property losses, often extinguishing a blaze before the fire trucks arrive.

"It's almost like making the growth pay for itself," Green said. "This is more for the future. Some day we'll have 50 percent with sprinklers, [and] this will save us having to go as quickly to a career service."

Passage of an ordinance would require a public hearing, county officials said. Each of the seven other incorporated municipalities in the county also would have to decide whether to pass such an ordinance. Green said the association plans to seek support from their officials, too - as well as homebuilders and other groups that would be affected by such a requirement.

State law requires sprinklers in businesses, apartments and townhouse developments, Green said, but the vast majority of losses comes from fires at one- and two-family homes.

"It's like having a firefighter in the house 24/7," he said.

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