By Ken Mallette, MEMA Director
Last week, we kicked off the international bicentennial celebrations of the War of 1812. And while we all heard about the great events, one of the lesser-known stories about this celebration was the historic collaboration among local, state, federal and even non-government partners to help keep Marylanders and visitors safe. With over one million visitors to Baltimore City’s Inner Harbor and the surrounding area and heavy traffic, we were faced with a very large and challenging task, including monitoring suspicious activity at each event, preparing for any possible incidents, and ensuring presence of authorities on the ground to make for a smooth Sailabration. From citizen volunteers to businesses, many stepped up to support us in our critical efforts to protect all of those enjoying the festivities.
All aspects of the Sailabration were monitored and managed through the Unified Area Command (UAC), which was co-located within the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and brought together command posts from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the United States Coast Guard. Given the international scope of the event, local, state and federal agencies shared authority and jurisdiction. Throughout each event – by land, air, and sea – public safety and transportation officials and volunteers worked together for an efficient and effective approach to keeping everyone safe.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency is committed to efforts to safeguard preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. One of the Administration’s goals is to make Maryland a leader in homeland security by the end of 2012. As a result of the great strides we have made as a State, during Sailabration first responders had access to information from our statewide network of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, real-time radar and vessel identification information from Maryland’s Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN), and the ability to communicate with one another using one of Maryland’s five regional interoperable radio networks, which will soon be followed by a new statewide radio system. Together, we are working toward that goal, and our collaborative approach throughout the Sailabration has strengthened relationships among all our public safety partners and increased our planning and response.
I’d like to thank the Baltimore City Police Department and all of the public safety partners, transportation officials, volunteers and businesses for their hard work and dedication throughout this historic event.
Martin O'Malley is the Governor of Maryland. He writes a regular blog for his official website.