Risking A Deputy's LifeToday, I could be a widow of a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 11, 1993

Risking A Deputy's Life

Today, I could be a widow of a sheriff's deputy. Why? Because my husband decided, after 22 years of service for Baltimore City, to make his life a little easier and safer by not only shortening his commute but by lessening the daily dangers he faced in a large metropolitan city by retiring and beginning employment in Carroll County for the sheriff's department.

There has been one cut after another since his employment began, e.g., a 26 cents per hour pay increase was afforded to other county employees but was denied to the sheriff's office, the state's attorney's office and the courts, etc.

Considering the agencies involved, I hardly believe that it was an oversight as claimed by the county commissioners. Of course, due to the economy today, Carroll County will have constraints on the budget, but not to the point where the officers' lives are jeopardized and their livelihoods are affected.

I still quiver and soberly ponder over the incident which occurred the other night, when my husband was held at gunpoint with no way possible to contact anyone. His life was jeopardized, as he could not call for help due to the fact that he only had a radio in the car. The commissioners claim in the article that appeared in The Sun on March 19 that due to the precarious position which Deputy Ed Smith was in, that using a repeater (a portable police radio) would not have been beneficial, as it may have prompted Mr. Stanley Anthony Dobson to only finish the job (if his intentions were to do so).

Yet, my husband was totally helpless, in the hands of a very distraught, disturbed man. . . . By having a repeater, my husband could have signaled by keying the radio by touch only (if not by voice) and transmitting the conversation between my husband and Mr. Dobson (which would not only record the incident but would send help immediately).

If Mr. Dobson had shot my husband and fled the scene, my husband (if not fatally wounded), may have been able to contact the dispatcher for help in order that he may have gotten medical care without having to crawl to the hallway and beckon neighbors, etc. for assistance.

Previous incidents have occurred which endangered his safety due to the lack of proper equipment which the county commissioners claim is unnecessary. If it is unnecessary equipment, then why is it that every law enforcement agency in this state is equipped with this type of radio? What is it going to take in order to prove to the county that this type of equipment is a necessity and not a luxury? Will it mean losing one of our police officers?

Consider this: the amount of money spent for this equipment will not come close to the amount of money this county will have to spend on medical care, lawsuits, workers' compensation or for widow's benefits, if indeed one of our officers is killed in the line of duty because of lack of equipment. . . .

Joy L. Smith

Westminster

Thank You To Blizzard's Heroes

This is a thank you letter, to hard-working, dedicated county personnel, many of whom worked 14-16 hour shifts over four days. It is also a thank you letter to community volunteers.

The Blizzard of '93 is history. . . . What does linger, however, is Carroll's cooperative community spirit. Neighbor helped neighbor. One organization pitched in to assist another to accomplish its task.

Some wonderful stories emerged from the crisis:

* Union Bridge neighbors were concerned for an elderly woman who lived alone. They moved her into one of their homes and everybody shared pot luck.

* New Windsor volunteer firefighters dug their way in to rescue an ailing senior citizen. Then they had to carry her through knee-deep snow for almost a block to get into the ambulance.

* Lineboro and Gamber volunteers used donated snowmobiles to make emergency medical rescues.

* The Civil Air Patrol, as always, joined in the response efforts. Among other things, it supplied four-wheel-drive vehicles. Radio station employees fielded hundreds (must have seemed like thousands) of phone callers wanting information and then still were patient and good-humored with those updating the blizzard status. Dispatchers at the Emergency Operations Center extended their shifts and fed important information to crews spread around the county. Law enforcement officers braved treacherous conditions to aid stranded citizens.

Some of the county's best cooks found the storm an occasion to share. One anonymous cook dropped off a big pot of homemade soup for the hard-working -- and cold -- utility workers. Another called into the county roads office offering hot coffee or cocoa and sandwiches to any workers who might pass that way.

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