Part-timers concern deputies

June 27, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

The increasing number of part-time sheriff's deputies hired to patrol Anne Arundel County's courthouse has full-timers worried about job security and the newcomers' ability to do the work.

Their concern is aimed at the part-time deputies hired in recent weeks by Patrick Ogle, Sheriff Robert Pepersack's second-in-command.

The deputies say the 26 part-timers lack the training and experience needed to escort prisoners in the courthouse.

"A lot of the full-time deputies have expressed concerns about the adequacies of their training," said 2nd Lt. Jerry Palazola, training officer for the sheriff's office and president of the 26-member Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 106. The group represents full-time deputies.

Mr. Ogle said he hired the best part-timers he could find and increased their number to save money. Their hiring has saved an estimated $100,000 in overtime.

Bjorn Pedersen, an analyst in the county Personnel Department, said there are 21 full-time deputies, six lieutenants, two captains and one vacancy for a full-time deputy.

Lieutenant Palazola said the deputies' concerns prompted him to issue a written statement Friday accusing Mr. Ogle of "favoritism" in hiring part-timers during the past year.

"There is widespread concern among the full-time deputies about the part-timer program, about the number of part-timers being hired, about the quality of some of the individuals and the lack of selections standards, and about some obvious political favoritism in the selections," the statement says.

The new employees include Mr. Ogle's karate instructor, Steven Kerstetter; Circuit Court Judge James C. Cawood Jr.'s son, William Cawood; and Judge Lawrence Rushworth Jr.'s grandson, Bret Whitmire. The part-time positions pay about $11 an hour.

Mr. Ogle denies any favoritism.

"You mean I'm supposed to say that because you're a friend of mine you can't get a job? Because you're a judge's son I'm not going to hire you? That's not fair either," he said.

Both judges said they pulled no strings and were not contacted by the sheriff's office before their family members were hired.

"I didn't know about it till he had the job, and I didn't feel comfortable telling him he should quit once he had gotten it," Judge Cawood said of his son Friday.

Mr. Kerstetter said he does not socialize with Mr. Ogle. He said Mr. Ogle told him about the part-time program several months ago at his business, the Annapolis Karate Masters school. He then applied for the job.

"I was put on the list like everyone else, I was interviewed like everyone else and I had the same background check done on me as everyone else," said Mr. Kerstetter, who holds a black belt in karate.

He said the sheriff's office uses his hall to hold monthly defense tactic training sessions for deputies, but said he is not reimbursed.

The part-timer program began last July and is modeled after a similar program run by the U.S. Marshals Service.

"The initial goal was to have [police officers certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission], but we didn't have applicants beating down our door, to be truthful," said Mr. Ogle.

He said he has managed to attract high-quality people, including a retired Washington, D.C., police officer, four retired Baltimore officers, one retired state trooper and five police officers who work for the National Security Agency.

The part-timers are placed in a pool and are not promised a specific number of hours each week.

"The beauty of it is, if I don't need them to work, I don't have to pay them," Mr. Ogle said.

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