Decision on boot camp is delayed Fort Meade official to retire this week ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

June 26, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The outgoing garrison commander of Fort Meade will delay making a recommendation on moving the Herman L. Toulson Correctional Boot Camp to the post in order to get more public input, a spokesman announced yesterday.

The delay by Col. Kent D. Menser apparently will leave a decision on the controversial proposal in the hands of his successor, Col. Robert G. Morris III. Colonel Menser retires Wednesday.

The colonel had said he would forward his recommendation on the camp to the commanding general of Fort Meade before his retirement.

But he decided to hold off after more than 200 people criticized him at a public meeting Tuesday for not telling them about the plans sooner.

Many of them complained that they first learned of the boot camp from the newspapers.

"We were always planning on having public input," said Don McClow, a base spokesman. "Colonel Menser has always been very sensitive to the public perception that this was a done deal."

Maryland correctional officials proposed moving the camp from Jessup to Fort Meade last year and expanding it from 365 inmates to 500.

The camp would be located 100 yards south of Route 175 near Route 32, across the street from the massive Seven Oaks community that eventually will have 4,700 homes. Most of the people who attended the meeting were from Seven Oaks.

At that meeting, Colonel Menser said that if he decides in favor of the boot camp, the proposal would go to Lt. Gen. James H. Johnson Jr., the commanding general of the First Army and Fort Meade, for his consideration. The general's recommendation then goes to the Department of the Army, which has the final say.

Norman G. Myers, the president of the Greater Odenton Improvement Association, said last night that he had not heard of the change. He said he would only view it as good news if Colonel Menser rejected the proposal.

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