A civic association leader is angry because the Crofton police chiefdid not publicly endorse a plan that requires county police be the first to respond to emergency calls in the community.
Crofton Police Chief Deborah Bogush, when questioned by a resident Monday night, said the plan had left her officers demoralized. She also said her department was informed of the changes just a day before the plan was made public at a news conference.
"We've always responded to all calls and follow-up investigations," Bogush said. "Yes, the officers are upset. They are not elated with the plan. Part of police work is answering the calls.
"There is concern about the way this came out," Bogush said. "We were not considered, asked about it or talked to. It was kind of dealt in our laps the day before the press conference."
Later, Crofton Civic Association board member Ken Chute blamed the chief for not defusing the controversy that had built up during the meeting. About a dozen residents of the special tax district turned out to complain that the new policy weakens police protection in Crofton, leaving its five-member force with little to do.
"If (Bogush) had complimented the county, all this would have gone away," Chute said. "But she didn't. If she is going to join in with the sentiments of the community, then maybe sheshould become a member of the community and not a member of the police force."
Bogush said yesterday that she fully supports the new plan, but felt she had to tell the residents and board members how herofficers felt. "Maybe it didn't come across right," she said. "I also have the responsibility that if the officers want to be heard, I have to relay their feelings."
The chief said her department could have used more time to implement the new plans so her officers and thepublic could have been better informed. "There just was not enough preparation," she said.
Bogush said she hopes to implement a neighborhood watch program, increase radar traps to catch speeders and do undercover work to catch vandals.
Ed Dosek, president of the civic association, said it is up to Bogush to make the new plan work and heasked that the board, the chief and county police representatives have another meeting in February to assess the program.
Dosek did say he was dismayed that some residents chose to turn the police issue -- which should revolve around policy -- into an argument over personalities.
"I thought that was too bad," said Dosek, who cut off debate Monday after Chute's statement. "Ken Chute's reaction was probably normal, although I didn't feel it was the time or place for it."