Major Robert Althoff has 32 years of law enforcement experience. His career began as a military policeman in the U.S. Army and has been serving with the Laurel Police Department for the past 24 years. He has served as commander of the Uniform Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations and Special Enforcement Units. Major Althoff is currently Commander of the Bureau of Administration which oversees Community Policing, Central Records Division, Communications Division, Property/Evidence storage as well as overseeing the Department's very successful "Cop's Camp" and Citizens Police Academy.
The Bureau of Administration includes:
The primary responsibility of the Central Records Division is to secure, store and maintain custody of the Department's records. Central Record's personnel are responsible for data entry of all reports, review of red light violations and Uniform Crime Reporting to the State of Maryland and federal government. During 2010 Central Records personnel entered 11,397 reports and citations, and reviewed 88,621 red light violations.
Communications is the citizen's first point of contact with the Department. They are responsible for receiving and dispatching all requests for police service. Communication's personnel are also responsible for computer entries involving stolen property, missing persons and wanted subjects. In 2010 Communications received 47,244 calls for service.
Property & Evidence
The Property Evidence Section is responsible for the maintenance, storage and security of all seized property and evidence. This includes properties seized as evidence to be used in a criminal prosecution, which may also include laboratory analysis, and retention of any lost or abandoned property for safekeeping. The property custodian properly disposes of controlled dangerours substances, weapons, hazardous materials or any unclaimed property.
The Parking Enforcement / Animal Control officer performs selective parking enforcement and animal control activities througout the City of Laurel. When voluntary complicance with parking regulations and animal control ordinances is not achieved, the parking enforcement/animal control officer will issue warnings or citations to violators. The officer also keeps the streets of Laurel clear of abandoned vehicles, assists citizens who have been locked out of their vehicles, captures domestic animals running at large, as well as, injured or wild animals posing a threat to the public.
Community Oriented Policing
Community policing is a major piece of the Department's approach to policing, with an emphasis on identifying neighborhood problems and then devoting police and community resources to resolve the problems. There is close interaction with community residents and members of the business community. Officers are deployed on more frequent foot and bicycle patrols as liaisons to the community. An on-line survey is available on the City's web page, www.laurel.md.us. Additional surveys, citizen contacts and community meetings will be utilized to better understand the needs of the community.
Each year during the summer, the Laurel Police Department holds Cop's Camp. A one week adventure into the world of police work. Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 participate in a variety of police related activities including learning to conduct traffic stops, fingerprinting, and firearms safety. Officers work with small groups to facilitate more interaction. Several demonstrations are given such as K-9, the Emergency Response Team and the Maryland State Police helicopter.
Citizen's Police Academy
Twice a year, the Laurel Police Department sponsors a Citizens' Police Academy program. This 12-week course is designated to educate citizens from all walks of life in several aspects of police work and involves hands-on activities. Upon graduation, students are eligible to participate in the Academy Alumni Association, whose members assist the police department with traffic control during City events and various other volunteer tasks.
Police Activities League
The Laurel Police Department Police Activities League (PAL) is a juvenile support program that seeks to enrich the lives and develop the physical, mental, and social capabilities of Laurel youth by creating opportunities for positive relationships between youth, police officers, and the community. A variety of recreational, athletic, social, education, and cultural activites and programs are provided to juveniles enrolled in the program. The program is open to youth between the ages of 7 and 18. For more information, contact the Community Liaison Officer at (301) 498-0092.
Police Explorer Post 1870
The Department currently sponsors a sanctioned Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life program that prepares individuals from the ages of 14 to 20 for careers in law enforcement. Participants are taught in a classroom, with a hands on approach, where they learn the traits and positive behaviors of a law enforcement officer.
The Laurel Police Department encourages participation in a Neighborhood Watch Program. it is one of the best ways the residents of Laurel can help keep their neighborhoods safe places to live. Reducing the opportunities for criminals to commit crimes and reporting suspicious activities to the police are the main elements of an effective Neighborhood Watch Program. Contact the Community Liaison Officer at (301) 498-0092 to discuss setting up a Neighborhood Watch Program in your community.
Volunteer Auxiliary Enforcement Unit
The Volunteer Auxiliary Enforcement Unit was started in 2003. This group of volunteers patrols the streets of Laurel enforcing parking laws and acting as auxiliary officers during major City events. The Auxiliary Enforcement Unit also issues radar warnings, parking citiations, and patrols the numerous City park areas.