Frying Pan vs. Drunk DriversPublished in the March 8...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 03, 1994

Frying Pan vs. Drunk Drivers

Published in the March 8 edition of The Sun were two articles detailing three different murders, one committed with a frying pan, the other two with a car and alcohol.

The judge presiding over the first murder trial sentenced the convicted murderer to life imprisonment. . . .

The judge who presided over the trial of the convicted murderer of two victims sentenced the man to 14 months on work release, stating he was running half an hour late for another case.

Obviously, the socially unaccepted murder weapon is the frying pan. The socially accepted weapons are the car and alcohol, probably because the savoir-faire excuse of our society is "everyone does it," that is, drink and drive. How many victims nTC need to be claimed by this loaded weapon before both the legislative and justice branches decide they have a moral as well as a legal right to stop excusing drunk-driving automotive manslaughters and punish the criminal? Sadly, I believe the second judge missed his golden opportunity.

His convicted murderer had a previous conviction for drunken driving, yet the best the judge could do was a work release sentence.

Does this sentence fit the crime? Perhaps it is time to hit the justice system over the head with the frying pan, a wake-up call to the reality that victims of drunken driving are no different than victims of any other corporal weapon, and the punishment should befit the crime. . . .

Jan M. Kohler

Abingdon

Too Many Officials

The Sun recently quoted Maryland Licensing and Regulation Secretary William A. Fogle as saying, "I got 22 lawyers on my staff that have nothing to do but fool around with him." The him in this case being lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano.

Regardless of the issue at hand, this type of arrogance by a government official is what leads taxpayers to go on reform drives.

These 22 lawyers' salaries must total at least $1 million. Where was Mr. Fogle when the governor was searching for ways to balance the budget the last couple of years?

. . . A careful, unemotional look at the issue being discussed would also lead most Marylanders to side with Mr. Bereano.

Mr. Fogle is proposing to levy a restriction on all state citizens by virtue of his authority as a bureaucrat. At the least, the issue should be voted through the General Assembly.

Buddy W. Maxwell

Aberdeen

Sheriff Elections

As the year progresses and the elections grow closer, one must look at the sheriff's race very carefully. As the pool of candidates for sheriff continues to increase, the public is going to have quite a bit of ponder.

Why do these people want to be sheriff? What qualifications and experience do they possess? In what direction is this person going to take Harford County law enforcement? These are all very important questions and concerns.

The issue of forming a police department is also a valid one. We need to hold someone accountable for the good of the public and employees of the sheriff's office; not a scapegoat, but someone who is going to answer the concerns of everyone. I believe placing the decision of a police department in the hands of the people was the best course of action. The people of Harford County will make their wishes known in the coming election. But let us look very closely at our options come September and November.

If a police department should prevail, the county executive will appoint the chief and the duties of the sheriff will be minimized, but still very important. A concern of the people should be if the police department comes to be in November, will all our candidates be as ambitious about their position as sheriff or will it be a part-time job? As a sheriff with less authority, will he maintain dedication and strive for professionalism?

I certainly hope so. As a law enforcement professional and a Democratic candidate for Harford County sheriff, I know how important it is to be dedicated to your work. Throughout the past 17 years, I have been dedicated to the law enforcement profession. Whether or not a police department prevails, I will be dedicated to the position of sheriff if chosen by the people.

George W. Cunningham

Bel Air

Police Experience

During the last year, there has been much discussion concerning law enforcement in Harford County and the need for a police department rather then a sheriff's office. The main focus of this controversy appears to rest on the upper levels of the sheriff's office. Mismanagement, political conflicts, lack of accountability are among the terms and phrases frequenting the newspapers and club meetings.

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