Former Sheriff Impatient For County-run Police Force

But Most Of Study Committee Members Looking To 1995

February 23, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

To former Sheriff Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh, three years is far toolong a wait for a county-run police force.

But to just about everybody else on the commissioners' police force study committee, putting the first patrol officers of a Carroll department on the streets ispractically impossible before January 1995.

As the 10-member committee met Wednesday night, they hammered outearly projections on the time and expense necessary for establishinga county police force.

And while all of them agreed that some start-up time was needed -- to hire a planner, build or renovate a headquarters building, draw up policies and procedures, hire a chief and interview officers -- Sensabaugh didn't seem to think that the processrequired the two years that others in the committee were proposing.

"You're spreading this thing over two years?," the former sheriff asked the group. "I thought we'd have some sort of plan before that, and why not start a 30-man operation sooner?"

Sensabaugh suggestedsomething could be in place as soon as July 1993.

"How . . . are you going to do that?," said Morris Krome, the retired state police major who is the group's chairman. "Sam, I don't see how that's humanly possible."

On a timetable proposed by State's Attorney Thomas Hickman, the initial steps in setting up a police force wouldn't begin -- mostly for budgetary and logistical reasons -- until July 1993.

A headquarters building, the timetable says, wouldn't even be ready for use until late 1994, and the first group of 30 officers wouldn't hit the streets until early 1995.

At their meeting two weeks ago, the committee first floated a proposal to phase in a 66-member Carroll force as they phased out reliance on the state's Resident Trooper Program.

Under that scenario, 30 officers and 11 office workers would report the first year. In the next year, the total number of officers would grow to 50, and the final 16 would report in the beginning of the third year.

In tentative figures worked out by Lt. Kenneth Tregoning, commander of the Westminster state police barracks, and Sam R. Leppo, Westminster police chief, the costs associated with the first three years of operation are close to the cost of the current 45-trooper Resident Trooper Program.

If a force were begun this July, the annual cost would be close to $3 million or more, depending on the availability and cost of a headquarters building.

The second year would cost about $3.1 million, and the third year would cost justunder $4 million.

One big additional cost was unknown last week -- that of setting up a retirement system for the force, which could add as much as $1 million to the force's yearly cost.

By comparison, figures supplied by the state police show that the cost of the resident troopers will be $3 million for the year beginning July 1, $3.3 million for the following year, and $3.5 million the next year.

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