Prompted by increasing crime and vandalism in the Crofton area, the town manager is lobbying for a county police substation.
Jordan Harding made the request during a recent meeting with the newly appointed captain of the police department's Western District. Harding said yesterday he wants to meet with County Council members and County Executive Robert R. Neall.
"With the population growth in our area, it would be beneficial to get a substation," Jordan said.
He said he is looking for vacantstore fronts or buildings that could be used for the station, which he said would serve as a local communications center and a post for afew officers.
"This is all in the planning stages," Harding said."We are just starting discussions."
In recent weeks Crofton area residents have been victimized by continued vandalism -- including the theft of flags from poles lining Crofton Parkway -- and serious crimes such as the stabbing of a woman in a tanning salon in neighboringGambrills.
Last year, Gwyn Dixon Criswell, a 42-year-old mother of two, was robbed and strangled to death at a Route 3 shopping centerwhile doing her Sunday morning shopping. Her body was found in woodsbehind the Crofton Library.
But police officials say many communities, including Broadneck and Maryland City, also arerequesting substations. And the county budget crunch severely limits prospects the communities will get any new services this year.
Officer V. Richard Molloy, department spokesman, said the county's capital budget, whichis set until 1995, doesn't include any plans for police substations.In fact, Molloy said, the department has no substations.
There are plans, however, for building new, full-scale stations in the county's eastern and southern districts, Molloy said.
"People get the misconception that if there is a department right there, that somebody is going to be there every time," Molloy said. "Police are seldom in their district station. They are out in their patrol areas."
Harding said no commitments were given at the meeting with Capt. Frank Milholland, outgoing Western District commander, and Capt. George Andrews, who will take command in August, refused to comment about the meeting.
But Harding said a permanent police presence in the area could reduce crime and decrease response times, reminding them that the five-member Crofton Police Department, which serves 10,000 residents of the special taxing district, is only a supplement to the county police force.
Harding said the substation does not have to be within the Crofton special tax district, but could be placed anywhere in theGreater Crofton area, home to about 40,000 people.