Board or Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Emergency Services Commission Meeting will be on May 17 at 7 PM at the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department at 7411 Cherry Lane, Laurel, MD 20707.


Emergency Services Commission Meeting

May 17, 2023,  7 pm

At Laurel Volunteer Fire Department



  1. Roll Call


  1. Approval of Minutes from meetings on March 8, 2023, March 29, 2023, April 24, 2023.



  1. Staff Reports
    1. Emergency Management
    2. Fire Marshal’s
    3. Laurel Police Department
    4. Department of Public Works
    5. Laurel Volunteer Fire Department
    6. Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad


  1. General Public Hearing


  1. Next Meeting July 19, 2023, virtual


  1. Adjournment


Emergency Services Commission Meeting

March 8, 2023, 7 PM

By Zoom


Chair Carmen called the meeting to order at 7:01 PM, with all Commission members present:

Chairman Fred Carmen, Vice Chair Patrick Davis, Commissioners Roy P. Gilmore, Wayne Dzwonchyk, and newly appointed Commissioner Douglas Redd.


Also attending:

Chief Jim Codespote – Laurel Volunteer Fire Department

Chief Chris Ruehl - Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad

Deputy Chief Raj Rose - Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad

Police Chief Russ Hamill – Laurel Police Department

Deputy Police Chief Mark Plazinski - Laurel Police Department

Director Danny Selby –Fire Marshal and Permit Services

Project Inspector Courtney Clardy –Department of Public Works

Emergency Manager Christina L. Cornwell – City of Laurel Office of Emergency Management

Administrative Assistant II Laura Christoplos


Mr. Redd was given a warm welcome by the group.


The minutes from May 11, 2022, were amended to show that Commissioner Dzwonchyk was in attendance at the meeting. On a motion by Commissioner Dzwonchyk, seconded by Commissioner Gilmore the minutes for May 11, 2022, May 24, 2022, September 20, 2022, October 19, 2022, and January 11, 2023, were unanimously approved.


Staff Reports:


Christina L. Cornwell, Emergency Management:

Ms. Cornwell sent the grant application to those that can apply. The Police Department submitted a request for $8000 for a drone or drones.

Once all applications are submitted each agency will have a chance to speak in support of their application. The Application deadline is April 14.


Ms. Cornwell’s new staff member is no longer with the City. She is hoping to hire in the near future. In the meantime, she and Haley Cifizzari are managing the ARPA funds.


Ms. Cornwell is working on getting volunteers for the CERT program. There are six people interested, but only one or two trained. She reminded the Commission that they serve as the CERT board. There could be discussions about what that means for the Commission and the CERT program.


Four of the six solar powered gauges have been installed as part of the Flood Warning System project. There were canopy issues with the other two.


Director Danny Selby, Fire Marshall and Permit Services:

NV Homes at Patuxent Greens has completed 39 single family homes with one under construction. There are 57 townhouses completed and 13 under construction. They will be starting seven more in the next couple of weeks.


Ryan Homes at Patuxent Greens has 107 completed townhouses, 16 under construction and 11 to start next month.


At Laurel Overlook, Dan Ryan has completed 149 townhouses, has 17 under construction, and permits for 15 more with undetermined start dates.


Ryan Homes at Westside has 12 completed townhouses, 17 under construction, and 5 starting soon.


The Dash  In and Shell on route 1 has just reopened.


There are 2 Konterra projects in the pipeline. One was the Genaske property. The other is off Contee and Pirate Lane with 28 acres. Nothing is official yet for either.



Chief Russ Hamill Laurel Police Department:

Chief Hamill reported on the uptick in violence that is continuing throughout the region and country. Auto theft, and thefts from autos are continuing to trend upward.


He then reported on the gun battle on Sunday night. LPD was assisted by air assets from neighboring jurisdictions, including drones. Helicopter operations are extremely expensive. Drones are much more economical.


The trend of repeated offenses by juveniles stealing vehicles is continuing. There is a roadblock to investigating these cases due to the changes in the Maryland laws in the past 24 months. They prevent police from interviewing juveniles under 18 years old unless their lawyer ok’s the interview, which doesn’t usually happen unless it completely exonerates the client.


Juveniles under 13 can no longer be arrested unless they are involved in an extremely violent felony. Under 10 they can no longer be arrested at all. This leads to an extreme lack of accountability and has fueled a tremendous uptick in juvenile crime.


Maryland law enforcement associations have been in Annapolis trying to make a difference on this but have not been successful.


There were over 1 million cars stolen in the US last year.


Recruitment and retention is an issue everywhere. The Mayor and City Administrator’s Office pushed through bonusses for hiring.


We have 1 recruit in the Academy, two in the field training, and numerous people in the pipeline. Our best recruiters are the people who work with us and get a bonus for referring people.


The Chief was asked about community engagement. LPD has a community engagement section that does a number of events. It also has a citizen’s advisory board, a business advisory board, and a clergy advisory board. They go to a tremendous number of community events. Their Citizen’s Academy is getting ready to start and the Chief encouraged members to attend. There is lots of social media outreach as well.


There is legislation in Annapolis now extending juvenile court to adults under the age of 25. They are referring to them as “emerging adults.” It has not been passed yet.


Commissioner Dzwonchyk asked about dilution of standards because of the problems with recruiting and retention. He also asked about the rise in traffic problems. The Chief assured him that we have not diluted our recruitment standards. Driving has become a major concern. The state has averaged 1.2 traffic fatalities a day. There have been more tickets for people traveling over 100mph and 130 mph than ever before. There is a lack of concern regarding consequences. Enforcement absent consequences is problematic.


Chair Carmen asked about LPD’s relationship with our delegation to the state legislature. Chief Hamill said it was very good.


Project Inspector Courtney Clardy Department of Public Works:

DPW installed 3 new speed humps to crack down on speeding. They are on Old Sandy Spring Road, Olive Branch, and Irving.


Chief Jim Codespote, Laurel Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD):

Chief Codespote reported on the renovations going on at the firehouse. The County is remodeling the kitchen and tv room. It’s supposed to last 8 weeks. The renovations will help support career staff.


They took delivery of their new ambulance last week, which had been ordered 2 years ago. It should be ready to go in 2 weeks.


Since Laurel does not take overnight patients, they are transporting to other hospitals.


Chief Chris Ruehl Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad (LVRS):

The Deputy Chief has been reaching out to the local high schools for volunteers.

There are often 2 ambulances running.

LVRS 71st banquet is this weekend.



Chairman Carmen opened and closed the General Public hearing at 8:08 p.m. with no one wishing to speak.


The next regular meeting will be on May 17 at 7 PM at the Fire Department.

There will be a short zoom meeting on March 29 at 7 PM to approve the 2022 Annual report and discuss goals and objectives.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:13 PM.



_________________________                                        March 9, 2023

Laura Christoplos Administrative Assistant II


Community Resources and Emergency Management (CREM)

The Department of Community Services and Emergency Management plans and prepares for emergencies, educates the public about preparedness, coordinates emergency response and recovery efforts and disseminates information during emergencies and disasters.