Glen Burnie thanks police officers for extraordinary efforts

September 04, 1992|By Kris Antonelli and Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Kris Antonelli and Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writers

Residents of a Glen Burnie community were so pleased with how two county police officers helped solve several problems in their neighborhood that they awarded the men a plaque and gave them a big thank-you Wednesday night.

Three children from the Glenchester community -- Matthew Doyle, 8, Steven Doyle, 9, and Randal Brent, 9 -- gave Detectives James A. Baublitz and Mark Metzler of the Northern District station plaques during the district's Police Community Relations Council meeting.

The award was the result of the detectives' solution to a delicate situation: A 31-year-old man who had once been indicted on sexual child abuse charges was hanging out in their neighborhood harassing children last month. Although he was frightening the residents, he was not doing anything illegal.

The officers could not simply arrest him.

Detectives Baublitz and Metzler came up with a solution: They ordered Chuck Griffith to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Leland Memorial Hospital.

"They were in the neighborhood when they were on duty as well as when they were off," Mrs. Brown said. The officers also helped solve problems the neighborhood had with teen-agers exposing themselves to children, and caught a burglar who had ransacked several homes.

Mr. Griffith, against whom charges of sexual child abuse were dropped in 1987 after he pleaded guilty to assault and battery, is still receiving psychiatric treatment at Leland Memorial Hospital and will be there indefinitely, said Capt. Gary Barr, Northern District commander. Captain Barr and Deputy Chief Robert Beck were also given plaques for outstanding service to the community.

Mr. Griffith was part of a program at Omni House for mentally disturbed people trying to live independently in the community, said Lois Miller, Omni House executive director.

She said staff members were shaken when they heard about the problems at Glenchester.

"Chuck had plenty of supervision," she said. "He was not actively psychotic. He was taking his medication, making his doctor's appointments. We thought he was doing very well."

Ms. Miller, who said the program has about 22 clients living in Cromwell Fountains Apartments, said there was no indication that anything was wrong with him. He had been with the program for less than a year and told staff members he was "actively seeking independent employment" during the day.

"He would come back with information about all these job interviews he'd been on," she said. "Obviously, he was giving us a big line," Ms. Miller said.

If Mr. Griffith is returned to Omni's supervision, rather than being committed somewhere, she said, he would be placed in a different type of program with a higher level of supervision.

"If I have to take him back, he would not go to Cromwell," she said. "He'd be a Level 5 with round-the-clock supervision."

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