Due to austere fiscal times in Maryland, Calvert County now must share its traffic safety coordinator, Debbie Jennings, with Anne Arundel. On Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Calvert County Commissioners presented Jennings with a proclamation commending her for a dozen years of service to Calvert.

“Debbie did an extraordinary job in this position. Her leadership, skills and commitment made the Calvert County Traffic Safety Council one of the best in the state,” said Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R], who read the proclamation into the record.

“We had a problem with teen accidents and fatalities in this county,” said Commissioner Susan Shaw [R]. “With Debbie’s work we have gotten that number down.”

In 2007, 17 people lost their lives on Calvert County’s roads. In fact, the Southern Maryland counties were plagued that year with a series of fatal crashes involving young drivers ages 16 to 20. With grant funding procured by Jennings to provide additional pay and other aids, Calvert’s law enforcement officers were able to focus efforts on preventing impaired and aggressive driving and encourage additional seatbelt use. In 2008, Calvert’s fatality number was down to nine and no young drivers were killed that year.

Many other programs were implemented in Calvert—Drive Cam, Alive at 25, car control clinics, elder driver education programs and motorcycle safety courses. Shaw also noted Jennings coordinated the many “mock crashes” that have been held at several high schools and the College of Southern Maryland’s Prince Frederick campus.

“She started all these programs that may have saved teens’ lives,” said Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R].

“You are part of the law enforcement family,” Calvert Sheriff Mike Evans [R] told Jennings. “You have definitely saved lives.”

“It has been a marvelous 12 years,” said Jennings. “We have definitely made strides.”

During the past 12 years, Jennings has exclusively worked out of an office at the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Barrack. Now she’ll divide her time between the two counties.