I intentionally sent the message below to the (non-Town) listserve as it dealt with Town communications regarding a matter of public safety ... but I will replicate it here as a matter of Town interest:
I will take responsibility for the Town’s communications on yesterday’s homicide but have no control over when people actually received or read those messages. Then there is never enough information and always serious constraints on what we can accurately and appropriately share.
Police and EMTs responded at 2:34 to what was initially thought to be an auto accident on Underwood Street but was quickly discovered to be a shooting. After first alerting staff at nearby University Park Elementary School, which was about to let out, Chief Baker briefed me by telephone at 3:04. I sent my first message out to the listserve at 4:09 saying all that I knew at that time, then followed up at 4:37 and 5:04 to relay more complete statements from Chief Baker. Meanwhile, University Park and County Police were responding to what has been and continues to be a rapidly developing situation. We expect and hope ‘this will be quickly resolved but will try to keep you informed as best we can. I am hopeful we can have more information and put out a more informative statement from the Town later today. All media inquiries are being handled by Prince George’s County Police communications.
Meanwhile, we have had a robust police presence in University Park – Officers from the County and the City of Greenbelt, as well as our own – throughout last night and we are working to have Police from neighboring jurisdictions to help maintain heavy patrolling . We are safe, but our intent is to be also obvious. Chief Baker and Captain Miltenberger were at the school this morning to answer questions and reassure parents and staff. They will be there this afternoon during pick-up as well.
I support robust communication and fully understand the desire for much more rapid and complete communications especially regarding a homicide in Town. I know from long experience that we all want to know more, and NOW, about these serious situations. We have a great deal of capability for alerts from the Town website, and you can sign up to receive them. We will also look into the possibility of other alert systems such as those I have at the University of Maryland, though in the past have found them costly for the limited frequency in which they are needed. This is the first homicide in Town in nearly 20 years.
With best regards,
Lenford C. Carey