Sheriff Robert G. Pepersack wanted a new look for his department. SoFriday, he adopted an insignia capturing the "new spirit of the sheriff's office."
Matt Raschka, a junior at Old Mill High School, came up with the design that can be found on the department vehicles, uniform shoulder patches of all sworn officers and on as the letterhead on all correspondence and documents.
Raschka was one of 14 high-school graphic arts students invited in February to submit designs to Pepersack's office by mid-March. He received a $500 savings bond from the sheriff's department for his efforts.
The 17-year-old found out about the contest at school. "My art teacher has a shelf full of design contests, and this seemed like it would be worthwhile to do," he said.
"I submitted like four; there was no limit to it," explained Raschka. "I was surprised by whichone they had chosen. I had my favorites and the art teachers had their favorites.
"The one they chose has a nice big bold look, with 'SHERIFF' written across the top. The simplicity is what made it good,it showed the significance of the sheriff's office rather than a bunch of junk on it."
Guidelines for the contest were too general, hesaid. Raschka called the sheriff's office to get details for a more specific design and decided to go with an upside-down seven-point star -- a switch from the five-point star used in the past.
He also visited a library to research the department's history, discovering that it has been in existence since 1650. Raschka incorporated the founding date into the design.
"I have a little 'since 1650' on the bottom," said Raschka. "He (Pepersack) was proud that this is one of the oldest offices in the state."
Pepersack also wanted the design to show that the department is a state office, so Raschka added a Maryland state flag to the background.
"I think this agency has to reflect a new spirit of professionalism and dedication to duty," said Pepersack last week. "It was a unanimous choice and it (insignia) really looks good, and delivers a real message to the public. It's clean and clear graphically."
Mary Gable, principal at Old Mill, said shewas delighted Raschka was chosen.
"He is a fine young man, comes from a very nice family. He is involved at school and is a real good student," she said.
Raschka was surprised at the reaction he got from fellow students Tuesday when an announcement was made at Old Mill.
"Today at school when they announced it," he said. "People were coming up to me and saying 'when I get pulled over I can say I'll know the guy who drew your patch.' I tried to explain to them that's notwhat they (the sheriff's department) do."