WESTMINSTER — Carroll's police study committee is recommending that the county askthe state for a commitment to continue the resident trooper program.
The committee also recommends that Carroll continue to pay all the costs of maintaining resident troopers -- even if the state gives acommitment to the program.
Although the state provides Carroll with the troopers, the countypicks up the cost. Before Maryland's budget crisis began, the state picked up 25 percent of the costs of state police protection.
Commissioners are scheduled to receive the committee's recommendations Wednesday.
The panel acknowledged that cutbacks in revenue will makeit difficult for the commissioners to add more troopers to deal withthe county's rising population and crime rate.
If the governor orthe legislature can't make "an extended commitment" to maintain the resident trooper program, the commissioners should begin planning immediately to develop a county police force, the committee said.
Butthe commissioners should be warned, it added, that if the county does develop its own police force, it would cost a great deal of money.
"The commissioners should know that the cost is going up and up," said State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman.
He argued that the study group was too pessimistic about the future of the resident trooper program.
In previous meetings, Hickman had made the same point, but in this meeting, other members seemed more willing to incorporate hisviews into the report.
"The point is that the county needs some type of warning that the program is going to end," said Morris L. Krome, chairman of the group and a former state trooper.
Planning the development of a county police force will not cost much money, the study group projected. One scenario calls for the county to spend about$50,000 on a planner and another $50,000 on architectural, engineering and communications studies.
Robert A. Bair, the commissioners' executive assistant, said the county will need some warning about thestate's plans so that it can build up the cash necessary to plan, recruit and equip the force.
Members of the committee hope that theywill be able to recruit resident troopers for a county police force.