- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2008

Montgomery County’s cable-access TV station now has its own version of the long-popular “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” shows to help catch local criminals.

The bimonthly program, “Be On the Lookout,” started last month and features criminal investigations in the county, including a recent homicide in Gaithersburg.

“Somebody out there knows something,” said Lt. Paul Starks, director of the county police department’s media division. “We want to close that case and get those people off the streets.”

The 30-minute show features host Holly Woerner interviewing officers about investigations and ride-alongs that give viewers a passenger-seat view of police work.

County police Officer Melanie Hadley said the department has photos, surveillance video and composite sketches of fugitive criminals but has never had such an opportunity to get information to the public.

In the premiere episode, cameras followed Officer John Romack as he arrested a driver in Rockville whose blood alcohol level was 3½ times the legal limit.

Another recent program featured the county’s efforts to work with Crime Reports, a Web site that maps and reports crime incidents and registered sex offenders in U.S. cities.

Skip Baylor, the police department’s director of crime analysis, said Montgomery is the only Maryland county listed on the site, which gives residents 24-hour access to crime data.

Officer Hadley said residents can “go online, type in their location, and find out what’s going on around them.”

She hopes those who visit the site and see reported incidents near their homes will then take more precautions.

Plans for “Be On the Lookout” started to take shape in late December, after the cable station and police department officials began sharing ideas about a crime show unique to the county, Lt. Starks said.

Funding for the program comes from county money earmarked for the station.

The first episode is available by searching for “Be On the Lookout, Episode 1” at Google Videos.

Each episode will air once or twice a day for two weeks on Channel 6 on RCN and Comcast cable and Channel 30 on Verizon cable.