Retiree gains a glimpse of dream to be a trooper Making a difference: A former CSX Transportation account executive and other volunteers help out at the Glen Burnie barracks, freeing troopers to be on the road.

January 17, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

W. B. "Pete" Lanier, 67, always wanted to be a state trooper, but he bowed to his parents' wishes and took up a less dangerous line of work. Now that he is retired, he can fulfill at least some of that dream.

As one of eight volunteers at the Maryland State Police's Glen Burnie barracks on Aviation Boulevard, he does many of the things a trooper might do. But he can't touch prisoners.

"We're not allowed. They don't want us to get hurt," said Mr. Lanier, a Linthicum resident who was an account executive for CSX Transportation.

He and the other volunteers do the typing and filing. They record traffic tickets, fingerprint applicants for gun permits and child care licenses, take photographs of wrecked cars and keep track of supplies.

It isn't unusual for Mr. Lanier to drive from the barracks to the Waterloo supply garage 20 minutes away on Washington Boulevard to pick up a new hat or uniform for a trooper.

"If Pete wasn't doing supply division, I'd be doing it as a first sergeant for $45,000 a year," said Sgt. Thomas M. Williams, community affairs officer for the barracks.

The work the volunteers do saves the state money and helps the barracks, he said.

"It frees us up for putting troopers on the road. It's something that has to be done," Sergeant Williams said.

Mr. Lanier became a volunteer seven years ago after he saw a television ad in which the county Department of Aging asked for help with a police support program. It made him aware of the need, he said.

"I wouldn't have minded being a state cop," Mr. Lanier said. "I think I would have been a good one."

Walter R. Tilghman, 68, saw the same ad 3 1/2 years ago and decided he had "a lot of time on my hands, so I'll give it a shot," said the retired Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee from Arden on the Severn.

He said he contacted Lt. Col. Robert Thomas, a neighbor who was barracks commander at the time. Colonel Thomas is retired now, and Mr. Tilghman passes his house every day on his way to the barracks.

"I think of him in the morning when I'm passing by. I figure he's still in the bed, and here I am going into the barrack," joked Mr. Tilghman.

Mr. Tilghman also said his opinion of the state police has changed.

"You get a different outlook on them when you're around them," he said.

"I have more respect for them than I did before. I think they do a lot more than people think they do. You think they just write a ticket and that's it. But it's not."

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