Police lodge taking to air with plea for more public safety funds BALTIMORE COUNTY

January 06, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

The Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police plans to g public this morning with a radio campaign to build support for increased spending for public safety in the face of looming budget cuts by the county executive.

"Our main concern is that our job has become more and more dangerous, and we really think the public should be aware of this before the county executive makes any cuts," said Lieutenant L. Timothy Caslin, a 22-year veteran of the force and president of FOP Lodge No. 4.

He said FOP radio spots emphasizing that message are to air for one week on WBAL, WPOC and WLIF in Baltimore at a cost of "Crimes are committed against our citizens in shopping malls, restaurants, in their own cars and even in barber shops," Lieutenant Caslin said. "County Executive [Roger B.] Hayden has cut the police budget in the past and is threatening to do so again."

Mr. Hayden said last month that he would be making further cuts among county employees, but has not yet announced the specifics. The county is facing a $31.6 million deficit this year, and, with permanent cuts in state aid now a fact of life, Mr. FTC Hayden and other county officials have said a downsizing of county government is inevitable.

But Lieutenant Caslin said those cuts should not come in public safety.

"When you're talking about an increase in crime and a decrease in police officers, it doesn't add up," Lieutenant Caslin said. "It doesn't add up to a healthy work environment, either."

Police spokesman E. Jay Miller said the department has 1,447 sworn officers, including trainees and is authorized for 52 more -- although these vacancies cannot be filled without permission from the county.

"The chief [Police Chief Neil Behan] is convinced the county executive will do the best he can in what are terrible fiscal circumstances."

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