Law enforcement agencies from throughout the state gathered Friday in Pikesville to network, for camraderie and to witness the blessing of their badges.
The 2012 Blessing of the Badge was presented by the Maryland chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
It was hosted by the Maryland State Police, headquartered in Pikesville, and is a ceremony to pray for protection and strength for the state's public servants.
"Law enforcement agencies share a common goal ... " Col. Marcus Brown, State Police superintendent said to several hundred law enforcement professionals gathered at the event. "To provide safety to our children and to their parents."
Brown urged agencies to be transparent in their hiring practices to earn the confidence of the community.
When the community sees a diverse organization that does not discriminate, they are "more confident in the decisions" the organization makes, he said.
Representatives from at least 15 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies attended the breakfast, as well as members from at least two fire departments, including the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.
As he gave the blessing, he touched each of the approximately dozen badges set out.
"God is our refuge and our strength ... and is very present in a time of trouble," Calhoun said. Law enforcement cannot do their jobs without God, "the one who protects them," he said.
He praised law enforcement agencies for helping "to maintain our peace—our shalom."
Friday was the first time that Lt. David Perry, assistant commander of the State Police Human Resources Division, attended the event.
After the event, he said it was a good time to share fellowship with his comrades from throughout the state.
"It's an opportunity to come out and exchange business cards, to talk about some of the struggles and challenges we've had throughout our careers," he said.
Those challenges include "hidden challenges," he said, referring to racism or discrimination.
NOBLE was founded in September 1976, and has 56 chapters in six regions throughout the U.S. and one chapter in the Caribbean, according to a State Police news release.