WESTMINSTER — A tentative and somewhat fuzzy picture of what a county-run police force would look like was developed last week.
After their third two-hour meeting, members of the county's police study committee came up Wednesday night with a sketchy outline of such a force, stressing that nothing they discussed would necessarily end up being recommendedto the commissioners.
The force would consist of a chief, one major, two lieutenants, six sergeants, 45 officers and 11 non-uniformed employees. An existing9,000- to 11,000-square-foot building would be renovated into a headquarters and jail.
More than 30 cars -- marked and unmarked -- would be dispatched, each with radio and emergency equipment.
The force envisioned by the committee would take on many of the same responsibilities as the state police's Resident Trooper Program, the 45-officer force that has been Carroll's main police protection service since 1974.
The force would be phased in over a three-year period, with half of the personnel and equipment on line in the first year and about a quarter of the remaining people and equipment added in each ofthe following two years.
As the description of a county-run forceemerged, the committee's chairman warned reporters that the group remained noncommittal toward statements made during the meeting.
"Itwould be a disservice to assume anything here is a proposal," said retired state police Maj. Morris Krome, the chairman. "This is just a free-wheeling discussion right now."
Committee members touched on everything from uniform colors to radio frequencies to the cost of such a force.
"The county, before Day One, is going to be spending alot of money," Krome said.
The county commissioners last year appointed the committee, made up of nine other members of Carroll's law enforcement community. The committee is to come up with recommendations and options by April 1.
The commissioners undertook this lateststudy -- at least the fifth since the 1970s -- in a climate of uncertainty surrounding the Resident Trooper Program. That $3 million program, of which the county pays more than 80 percent, more than likely will lose all state money for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The committee is to determine whether the county should continue the program or start its own force. Estimates of the cost of a self-operated force are in the $9 million range.
The committee will split intotwo groups this week and meet again Feb. 19 at the sheriff's office on North Court Street.