New Crofton Police Plan To Be Unveiled Next Week

January 07, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

The Crofton town manager and police chief plan to unveil a program next Monday in response to complaints about the way emergency calls are handled in the community.

Details of the plan will not be made public until next week. However, Town Manager Jordan Harding said the new program has the backing of both the county police and the Croftonofficers.

Crofton Civic Association board members promised residents they would report back to them in mid-February with a plan for new police procedures. But Harding said the association leaders didn't want to wait.

"It was so important that we tried to expedite putting the program together," he said.

Changes in police procedure were made in November, when county police assigned a permanent officer to the Crofton special tax district, boardered by routes 3, 424 and 450.

Crofton residents had complained for years that they were not getting their money's worth from the county police, which had been leaving all calls up to the five-member Crofton force, originally established to supplement county protection.

Under the patrol changes begun in November, county officers respond to all calls first and write all reports. That frees up Crofton officers for special assignments, such as targeting speeders and vandals and working undercover.

But residents turned out for a meeting in November and complained that county officers would not be able to get to an emergency scene fast enough. Critics said the plan relegated Crofton officers to being little more than high-priced security guards.

At the same meeting, Crofton Police Chief Deborah Bogush said her officers were demoralized because they felt the county was taking over their jobs -- comments that drew criticism from at least one board member.

But Harding said the new plan is comprehensive and will answer critics. He said it worked out by him, Bogush and Crofton's four police officers.

Capt. Frank Milholland, commander of the county Police Department's Western District,which covers Crofton, said he wishes he could implement the plan on the county level.

He said the plan for Crofton is what Police Chief Robert Russell has been trying to do in the way of community policing. "There just isn't enough money in the budget for us," he said.

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