In Cecil County, public safety agencies include Animal Services, the Department of Emergency Services, and the Fire Marshal. An officer of the Circuit Court, the Sheriff oversees the Correctional Facility Division, and the Law Enforcement Division.


Animal care and control services were performed by the County until 2000, when the Board of County Commissioners contracted with the Cecil County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc., to perform these duties. From January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016, A Buddy For Life, Inc., had been designated as the animal control agency for the County. On July 1, 2016, Animal Services returned to County control.

Responsibilities of Animal Services include animal adoption and licensing, and the licensing of kennels, catteries, and pet shops. Animal Services hires officers to respond to claims of animal abuse, and dangerous or at-large domesticated animals, and other violations of State and local animal ordinances. Officers also conduct inspections of licensed animal establishments to ensure humane treatment and quality standards (County Code, secs. 142-1 through 142-40, 209-1 through 209-5).


Functions of the Deparment of Emergency Services originated in 1957, when Civil Defense was created in the County to plan and coordinate Countywide plans against possible nuclear attacks. In 1961, Civil Defense reformed as the Civil Defense and Emergency Management Agency, absorbing the duties of Civil Defense, and tasked with overseeing all County emergency planning and operations. The Department assumed its present name in 1981.

The Department of Emergency Services staffs and maintains the 911 Emergency Services Dispatch Center, which receives calls, and coordinates local responders to most effectively address emergencies. During disasters, the Department coordinates federal, State and local agencies in response and recovery measures. In addition, the Department is responsible for homeland security operations, and radiological and hazardous material planning and response. The Department also designs and runs hazard exercises to ensure proper County preparation and response, and offers emergency training for County employees and residents on disaster preparation, mitigation, response and recovery (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 14-109 through 14-113; County Code, secs. 34-1 through 34-5).

Appointed by the Governor on recommendation of the County Executive, the Director oversees the Department (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 14-109).


For the Northeast Region of Maryland (Cecil & Harford counties), the Deputy State Fire Marshal serves as an assistant to the State Fire Marshal, and is responsible for fire safety in the Region. The Deputy oversees the investigation and enforcement of laws regarding arson; fire prevention; the installation and maintenance of fire detection and extinguisher equipment; the availability and adequacy of fire exits at public and commercial establishments; and the storage; sale, or use of explosives and combustibles (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 6-305).

The Deputy State Fire Marshal is appointed by the State Fire Marshal (Code Public Safety Article, sec. 6-303).

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