Tregoning weighs run for sheriff Officer headed Westminster barracks

November 03, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

First Lt. Kenneth L. Tregoning, a former commander of the state police barracks in Westminster, is expected to enter the race for Carroll County sheriff.

Lieutenant Tregoning said yesterday that he will make an announcement tomorrow about his decision to "run for an elected office."

"I'm strongly considering a run," he said from his office at the Golden Ring state police barracks in Baltimore County, where he has been commander since he left Westminster in July 1992.

County political observers have speculated for weeks about Lieutenant Tregoning's desire to oppose one-term Republican Sheriff John H. Brown, who defeated two-term Democratic Sheriff Grover N. Sensabaugh by fewer than 300 votes in 1990.

Some observers say that Lieutenant Tregoning's interest in the sheriff's seat was piqued last year when he was a member of a commissioner-appointed committee that studied the feasibility of a county-run police force.

The 25-year state police veteran is widely believed to favor a county police force over the current resident trooper program, in which about 40 state troopers patrol Carroll at a cost of about $3.5 million to county taxpayers.

Lieutenant Tregoning, who returned to the Democratic Party in September after nearly 20 years as a registered independent, declined to answer questions before tomorrow's announcement, scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Carroll County Courthouse.

Sheriff Brown said yesterday he wouldn't be surprised by the lieutenant's entry in the sheriff's race.

"I look forward to the challenge," Sheriff Brown said. "I intend to run on my record."

The sheriff, whose re-election committee was formed in January, held a fund-raiser that he termed "wildly successful."

While Lieutenant Tregoning declined to talk about the issues he would raise in next year's election, political observers say that it could be a replay of 1990's race between Sheriffs Sensabaugh and Brown.

In his campaign, Sheriff Sensabaugh called for converting the sheriff's office into a full-service police force.

Sheriff Brown said he would maintain the department's traditional function of serving court papers and providing courthouse security.

It was not clear yesterday whether Mr. Sensabaugh would challenge Lieutenant Tregoning in the primary.

"I still haven't made up my mind. Some days I want to do it; other days I wonder why I'd want to get into all that again," Mr. Sensabaugh said.

He said he likes Lieutenant Tregoning, a fact that would make a primary challenge harder to initiate. "He's a good man," he said.

Both he and Lieutenant Tregoning have approached the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee in the last several weeks to discuss running for office.

"Either one of these men would be better than Sheriff Brown," Greg Pecoraro, the committee chairman, said yesterday. "Both have talked to us. Ken [Tregoning] did a terrific job as barracks commander, and Sam [Sensabaugh] was a terrific sheriff."

Lieutenant Tregoning, who has lived near Union Bridge since 1973, has been transferred 11 times in his 25-year state police career.

He did not say yesterday whether he would retire in order to seek the $35,000-a-year sheriff's job, and it was unclear whether he would have to retire in order to run for the political office.

The sheriff's department employs about 85 deputies and operates on a budget of about $2.3 million a year.

Sheriff Brown says that he will continue to oppose turning the department into a county police force.

"I ran before on the simple issue of saving the taxpayers' money," he said.

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