In Prince George's County, four main government agencies are responsible for public safety. They are the Office of Homeland Security, and three departments: Corrections, Fire and Emergency Services, and Police.


The Department of Corrections formed in 1978 to oversee the Prince George's County Jail. Formerly the Sheriff had been responsible for the operation of the Jail. Today, the Deparment feeds and confines prisoners at the County Correctional Center, Upper Marlboro. To recover the cost of a prisoner's incarceration, in part, the Department charges a fee of the prisoner, or the municipality or jurisdiction where the inmate was sentenced.

Programs related to correction and rehabilitation among State and county agencies are developed, implemented, and maintained by the Department. Working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Office, the Department performs duties related to the temporary incarceration of those awaiting trial, and their transfer between County correctional facilities and the Courts (County Code, secs. 18-108 through 18-110.02).

The Director oversees the Department, and creates and amends rules and regulations that pertain to maintenance, discipline, and conduct within the County Jail, and the Department. The Director is appointed by County Executive with County Council consent (County Code, secs. 18-108, 18-110.01).

Two bureaus comprise the Department: the Administrative Bureau, and the Operations Bureau.


Fire fighting originally was a local matter, handled by citizens. The first countywide fire-fighting organization formed in 1922. At that time, the Prince George's County Volunteer Firemen's Association organized existing departments at Brentwood, Cottage City, Hyattsville, and Mount Rainier. In 1923, the Association added departments from Greater Capitol Heights, Riverdale, Seat Pleasant, and Sidney. The first rescue squad in the County formed in 1927, and joined the Association the same year. By 1946, the Association included 26 fire companies and that rescue squad.

In March 1966, the County began incorporating members of the Prince George's County Volunteer Firemen's Association as paid, professional government employees. In June 1968, the Department of Fire Protection was established to oversee their work.

With the adoption of charter government, County government was restructured in 1970. Under the Charter, the Department of Fire Protection was reformed as the Prince George's County Fire Department, commanded by the newly created office of Fire Chief. In the following years, the Department established 911 services, added medical response units, and in 1982, established a fire and rescue academy at Cheltenham. To reflect its additional duties, the Department was renamed in 1998 as the Fire and Emergency Services Department.

The primary responsibility of the Fire and Emergency Services Department is to provide fire and rescue services for the County. Other duties include enforcing laws and ordinances to prevent fires; store explosive, flamable, and other hazardous substances; and install and maintain fire alarms and escapes. To these ends, the Department conducts investigations of fires and explosions within the County. The Department also regulates volunteer fire companies and emergency medical service providers within the County, and provides support for them (County Code, secs. 11-101 through 11-347).

Appointed by the County Executive with County Council consent, the Fire Chief oversees the Department. The Fire Chief is authorized, when needed, to delegate his duties to the Fire Marshal, or other fire officials (County Code, sec. 11-150).

Under the Department is the Office of Fire Marshal.

The first fire-related government office in Prince George's County was that of Fire Marshal, which was created in 1954.

The Office of Fire Marshal has four divisions: Administrative Services; Emergency Operations; Management Services; and Support Services. The Office also is aided by the Fire Commission.


The Office of Homeland Security formed in 2003.


The Police Department was established in 1927 under the Sheriff's Office. Prior to that, the Sheriff and deputies had been responsible for all law enforcement in the County. In 1931, the Department was restructured as a separate government agency under the Executive Branch.

Directed by the Chief of Police, the Police Department is responible for preserving the peace within the County. The Department prevents crime, enforces the law, and protects life and property. Other duties include the aquisition, storage, and disposition of property; and the reporting of property taken during an investigation or prosecution of a crime. To implement and operate neighborhood watch programs, the Police Chief approves and provides regulations (County Code, secs. 18-111 through 18-115, and 18-121 through 18-190).

Through the County Executive, the Police Department is authorized, by mutual aid agreements, to lend assistance when necessary to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as well as to other federal and state agencies in, but not limited to, Maryland and Virginia (P.L. 108-458; County Code, sec. 18-189).

The Chief of Police is appointed by the County Executive with County Council consent.

Under the Department are the Inspector General, and four bureaus: Administration; Forensic Science and Intelligence; Investigation; and Patrol. The Department also oversees three divisions: Critical Support Services, Internal Affairs, and Media Relations.

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