'Robocop' officer granted work-release sentence

January 13, 1995|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel County police officer sentenced to six months house arrest for extorting money from a man in Queenstown Park will spend 90 days in the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on work-release, instead.

Gregory Overstreet, a decorated nine-year veteran of the force known as "Robocop" for his zealous pursuit of drug dealers and drunken drivers, asked for the change in a Dec. 30 letter to Circuit Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. so that "I can go on with my life."

Judge Goudy approved the change Tuesday, and Overstreet began serving the new sentence that night, Detention Center Superintendent Richard Baker confirmed yesterday.

Overstreet gets credit for the time he has served under house arrest, which began on Dec. 21, Circuit Court records show.

Mr. Baker said Overstreet will serve in a work-release program that will allow him to work at a landscaping business he owns. Under the terms of the work-release, Overstreet will have one day taken off his sentence for every day he works.

His actual time in jail may be one to two months.

Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the county state's attorney's office, said yesterday that prosecutors were pleased with the sentence modification because they had sought to have Overstreet serve time in the Detention Center.

"We thought it [jail time] was more appropriate," she said.

Mr. Baker said Overstreet will serve his time at the Detention Center in a protective-custody section set aside for about 20 inmates, all of whom have "restricted movement."

"They will not be allowed to mix with people from the general population," Mr. Baker said. Those under protective custody also have recreation and visiting hours different from other inmates.

Ms. Riggin said Overstreet will take a job in Georgia when he is released from the Detention Center.

In his 16-page letter to Judge Goudy on Dec. 30, Overstreet gave a brief summary of his career with the Police Department and told of the pressures that led him to extort money from the Pasadena man July 20.

He lamented that he had become "worse than the people that I had so often arrested."

Overstreet pleaded guilty to extortion Dec. 16. Acting Chief Robert Beck fired him four days later.

Overstreet was wounded in the shoulder while making a drug arrest in Pioneer City in 1991. The department named him Officer of the Year for 1991 and gave him a Purple Heart.

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