The new captain of the county police department's Western District said he plans to encourage officers to spend more time working their beats and getting involved in the areas they cover.
His plans are part of what is called community-action policing -- residents and police officers working together to prevent crime.
"I want the officers to solve the problems and be innovative," Capt. Frank Milholland said.
"I was one of them. I have sat where they sit. I'm no more intelligent then they are. I tell them, 'Don't come to me with all the problems. I want you to handle the problems,' "he said.
Milholland, former commander of the Eastern District, officially takes charge of the western part of the county in August, when Capt. George Andrews retires.
Milholland already is stationed at Western District, while Andrews uses up vacation and sick leave.
Milholland made his remarks last week at the monthly meeting of district's community relations council.
He said community-oriented policing is the wave of the future.
He told the 20 residents in attendance he wants his officers to be visible and aggressive, but at the same time not to lose the respect of the people they serve.
"Crofton may be considered a golf course community and Meade Village may beconsidered a drug community," the captain said.
"Of course you can't police the two communities the same way. And I do not expect you to.
"But I want people in both communities to be treated with the equal amount of respect," he said to the council.
Milholland told residents that he wants his officers to pull over a lot of cars for traffic violations.
"Traffic stops reduce crime," he said. "It gives the community the impression that the police are out working. The criminal element will see that and think, 'Oh, that could be me.'
"Let the criminal go someplace else where they don't make traffic stops."
Some residents, especially those living in Bacon Town, a smallcommunity in Maryland City plagued by drug problems, complained thatpolice drive through but never get out of their cars. They say they call police expecting to talk to an officer, but never get a chance.
As a result, they said the drug dealing and prostitution pop rightback up once the police car leaves the area.
"That's one thing I want to change," Milholland said. "I know officers like the highways,because that is where the easy pickings are for tickets. But get back in the community."