Sheriff's office, police formalize accord on duties

November 25, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

Representatives of Anne Arundel County's two law enforcement agencies -- the Police Department and the sheriff's office -- have signed an agreement that defines their roles when their duties overlap.

The guidelines laid out in the memorandum of understanding have been observed informally for some time, but were made official with yesterday's signing.

"The big winners of this agreement will be the citizens of Anne Arundel County," Sheriff Robert G. Pepersack Sr. said in a written statement. "They will receive more efficient law enforcement services for their tax dollars."

The memorandum states that the Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency in the county, and that the primary role of the sheriff's office is to provide courthouse security.

It also recognizes that sheriff's deputies "are law enforcement officers and, although their role and duties are not that of a primary law enforcement officer or agency, failure to act in response to certain crimes or traffic incidents could jeopardize life or limb, damage public confidence or initiate unfavorable citizen review."

The agreement specifies that:

* A uniformed sheriff's deputy can make a traffic stop when he or she sees a motorist operating a vehicle "in a manner as to present a clear and imminent danger to the public."

* A sheriff's deputy who sees a felony being committed may intervene and make an arrest.

* If a misdemeanor is witnessed by a sheriff's deputy, it should be reported to the county police. The deputy should detain suspects and preserve evidence until police officers arrive.

* In hostage or barricade situations, sheriff's deputies will immediately contact the Police Department while continuing surveillance at the scene and will defer to the police once they arrive.

* Sheriff's deputies will be responsible for investigating and arresting prisoners who have escaped from the custody of the sheriff's office, with backup from the Police Department.

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