67 more county officers sought Police chief's budget also asks executive for 56 patrol cars

April 15, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

If newly appointed Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan gets his wish, his department will get 67 new police officers, 56 new patrol cars and more than $1 million to fund a pilot project for laptop computers in patrol cars.

Mr. Sheridan's requests are part of the $85.5 million budget for 1996-1997 that he has submitted to County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III. If the budget is approved, it will mark a 9.8 percent increase over the current year. Mr. Ruppersberger will unveil his proposed operating budget today.

Mr. Sheridan, who was sworn in April 8, said the department needs additional officers to fight crime, which is increasing. Violent crime rose 6.6 percent last year, and armed robberies and juvenile crimes are persistent problems.

"I see we are having a change in crime trends, and there is more violent crime," he said. "This is not to correct a deficiency in the department, but to get ahead of the crime."

Within a year, 45 officers at the Cockeysville precinct will begin using portable laptop computers linked to a computer at headquarters, allowing officers to file reports electronically.

The laptops also will allow officers to check drivers' licenses and criminal records from their patrol cars.

The Cockeysville pilot project will cost about $1 million, and the computer system at headquarters has a $35,000 price tag, Mr. Sheridan said.

Officers with at least two years at the department would get a 4 percent raise to bring them in line with salaries in other departments; captains, majors and lieutenant colonels would get a 2 percent pay increase.

Twenty-three of the 67 new officers' positions will be shifted from the 50 positions now allotted to the police cadet program, which trains people who are too young to start at the police academy.

Those 23 slots will go to the Criminal Investigative Services Division, where Mr. Sheridan plans to assign a squad of detectives to investigate unsolved murders.

That division also will receive $399,710 for overtime pay -- a $203,015 increase from last year.

The money for 40 more new officers will come from a federal community policing grant, Mr. Sheridan said.

After three years, the department will have to pay their salaries. Those slots will be given to precincts experiencing high crime problems, he said.

The White Marsh precinct will get four new officers -- to be funded by the county -- to help handle an increasing number of calls, which Mr. Sheridan attributes to the growing population there.

Pub Date: 4/15/96

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