Yes, Staying With Sheriff Is CheaperIn the debate over...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 01, 1993

Yes, Staying With Sheriff Is Cheaper

In the debate over whether Harford County should move to create a county police or stay with its present sheriff's system, questions of cost have become a matter of dispute between its present sheriff's office and County Executive Eileen Rehrmann's administration.

In an article published in The Sun July 18, I reported that the per capita cost for police services for Harford County for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1990 was $43.40 -- less than half of what citizens in most comparable Maryland counties pay for their police.

I believe that this exceptionally low cost of police is the direct result of efficiencies that come from a sheriff's system.

There are synergies that come from operating a police service, correctional service and court security and civil process service within a single sheriff's system that would be lost if Harford County went to a county police system. . . .

George Harrison, the Rehrmann administration spokesman on this matter, told The Sun that my figures were incorrect and that by his calculations, the per capita cost for police services in Harford County was $80.66.

Follow-up investigation by The Sun has determined that all of the figures I provided were, in fact, correct.

They were based on figures from the Maryland State Department of Fiscal Services, an independent, authoritative source on finances in the state of Maryland. . . . They confirmed the accuracy of my figures for 1990.

They also provided The Sun with the accompanying chart on the most recent comparative figures they have available, fiscal year ending June 30, 1992.

These figures, as well as those I provided earlier, confirm that citizens in Harford County currently pay less that half of what most citizens in comparable Maryland counties pay for police service.

It appears that Mr. Harrison made his calculation error by dividing the entire sheriff's $15.9 million budget by the county population.

He "forgot" this budget includes roughly $4 million for correctional services and $2 million for court services. None of these costs are included in the police budget of other counties.

If Mr. Harrison or Mrs. Rehrmann had offered their figures in one of my introductory criminal justice courses, I would have failed them. . . .

I think that citizens of Harford County should consider with great caution any police cost estimates they receive.

Carl B. Klockars

Newark, Del.

The writer is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Delaware, has served as a consultant to Harford County and was recently retained by the Maryland Sheriff's Association as an adviser to Harford Sheriff Robert Comes.

KAL's Cartoon Was Incomplete

In response to KAL's cartoon of July 18, I believe the cartoon was not complete.

KAL neglected to show the U.S. Congress (controlled by Democrats lo these many years) gleefully pouring red ink into the already overflowing river.

He also forgot to complete the sign held by the Republican elephant which reads "The country doesn't need higher levies!" The rest of the sign should read, "It does need a cut in spending."

I don't think the Republicans have their heads in the sand as KAL shows but the Democrats have theirs, and the spending, in the clouds.

Michael Reid

Bel Air

Police Costs Versus Population

RF

Jurisdiction .. Per Capita .. .. Police Budget .. .. Population

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . (in millions) .. .. .. .(1990)

Anne Arundel County .. .. $103 .. .. .. .. .. $44.3 .. .. .. 427,293

Baltimore City .. .. .. . $242 .. .. .. .. . $278.5 .. .. .. 736,014

Baltimore County .. .. .. $105 .. .. .. .. .. $72.7 .. .. .. 692,134

Harford County .. .. .. .. $52 .. .. .. .. ... $9.5 .. .. .. 182,132

Howard County .. .. .. ... $94 .. .. .. .. .. $17.6 .. .. .. 187,338

Montgomery County .. .. . $107 .. .. .. .. .. $81.1 .. .. .. 757,027

Prince George's Co. .. .. $100 .. .. .. .. .. $72.9 .. .. .. 729,268

* fiscal year ending June 30, 1992

Source: State Department of Fiscal Services

U.S. Caring For Foreigners First

I was appalled when I read the plight of that little 1-year-old girl in Middle River (Mike Littwin's column, July 16).

For a miserable $2,000, that little girl might die. Our government is so busy paying the way for foreigners and illegal aliens, who hate us anyway, and trying to be big Uncle Sam, that they forget all the Americans that need help. . . .

While I'm on the subject, isn't it ironic that France, who gave us the Statue of Liberty, has closed its borders to any more immigrants. Not that I blame them, for that is what the United States should do instead of wasting taxpayers' money on hearings and all that other hogwash.

The U.S. should dismantle the Statue of Liberty and send it back to France.

Mary Rickour

Bel Air

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