As the world went into the 21st century, so Southern Maryland followed.
Squads of extra law enforcement personnel took to the streets and emergency command posts were set up in every county, but neither the Y2K bug nor New Year's Eve revelers had much discernible effect here as Friday night turned into a new century, emergency officials throughout the area reported this week.
Residents kept millennium fever to a minimum--police agencies throughout Southern Maryland reported the number of drunken driving arrests this year was about the same or lower than for previous New Year's holidays.
"The Y2K transition in Charles County was a nonevent," said county spokeswoman Nina Voehl. She attributed that to "the tremendous amount--and I'm not exaggerating that--of preparation and cooperation of public and private agencies throughout the county."
Charles officials had expected to keep their Y2K command post staffed at least through midday on Saturday, New Year's Day. But things went so smoothly that everybody went home at 2 a.m., Voehl said. The volume of incidents and emergency calls "wasn't even typical of a Friday night," Voehl said.
Charles County government shut down its computers at midday Friday and brought them up the following day, as a safeguard against possible crashes at midnight.
The sheriff's office in Charles County had four drunken driving arrests, while the Maryland State Police issued eight drunken driving citations Dec. 31 through Jan. 1, the agencies reported.
Calvert County began dismantling its command center in the basement of the County Courthouse shortly after 2 a.m., according to Donald Hall, chief of emergency operations head. "No news is good news, I guess," Hall said.
The Calvert County sheriff's office reported seven drunken driving incidents Friday and Saturday, as well as 10 disorderly calls, police said. The State Police in Prince Frederick tallied an additional four drunken driving arrests and four drug possession arrests.
In St. Mary's County, Paul Wible, the director of Emergency Management, watched as CNN heralded the New Year's uneventful arrivals in Asia, Moscow, Paris and London. After a cider toast at midnight, Wible decided he would send people home from the St. Mary's command post. Representatives from the county, local law enforcement agencies and the utilities started leaving about 2 a.m.
"It was very uneventful, which was good," Wible said.
The midnight shift at the St. Mary's County sheriff's office recorded only one drunken driving arrest, an unusual low for a New Year's Eve, officers said. The State Police made two drunken driving arrests in St. Mary's.
"I guess people just stayed home," St. Mary's Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Cameron said.