Holiday effort by state police was no miracleThe Dec. 30...


January 24, 1998

Holiday effort by state police was no miracle

The Dec. 30 letter "Miraculous arrival of state troopers" candidly stated, in the writer's opinion, that there is a sudden appearance and disappearance of Maryland state troopers before and after the holidays.

During the holidays, the men and women in law enforcement throughout Maryland participated in an enforcement blitz known Operation Holiday Cheer.

This enforcement was a direct result of a State Highway Administration grant of $70,000. The funds were divided between state and local police throughout Maryland to focus enforcement on drunken and drugged drivers as part of December's National Drunk and Drugged Driving Month.

A news release announcing the enforcement effort -- which read, "More than 200 extra state troopers will be on patrol tonight " -- has apparently inadvertently led to a misunderstanding of the word "extra."

Though additional state troopers were on patrol that evening, the reality is that the grant funding enabled not only the Maryland State Police, but also several other Maryland law enforcement departments, to deviate from normal, routine staffing levels.

These "extra" troopers and officers volunteered to work on their days off and also worked double shifts effecting a 16-hour day. In fact, the funding provided 325 additional police officers across Maryland (state, county and municipal) to focus enforcement efforts on drunk and drugged drivers for one eight-hour period.

During these eight hours, troopers issued more than 1,900 citations and warnings for speeding, arrested 104 drunk drivers and charged 45 people with driving while suspended or revoked. Sixteen people were arrested on drug charges, three on stolen vehicle charges and one for possession of a handgun. In addition, seven fugitives were arrested on open warrants and 13 others for criminal violations.

The troopers and officers who participated in this effort deserve to be commended not only for their outstanding work, but also because they unselfishly dedicated their time to serve their respective departments while sacrificing time spent with their families during a significant holiday season.

David B. Mitchell


Colonel Mitchell is superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

Curb bear problem by reducing bears

Glenn Tolbert's anti-hunting article on black bears in the Jan. 11 Perspective section ("Killing bears may not be the answer") lacked depth and understanding of the problem, and offered an inane remedy.

Mr. Tolbert concluded by recommending that the Department of Natural Resources spend less on news releases and put more effort into educating the public.

The DNR's primary avenue to the public is through news releases.

He also suggested that the agency look for a better marketing plan to sell the bear stamp to cover the cost of depredation.

History confirms that it is the hunter who has always paid the cost when money was needed to solve game-management problems. There would be no bears to cause problems if it were not for the management paid by the hunters over the years.

The only way to reduce the bear problem is to reduce the number of bears in Western Maryland. Any other plan will just increase the problem.

I wonder whether Mr. Tolbert knows there are more documented kills of humans by black bears than grizzly bears.

That doesn't mean they are a serious threat to humans, unless you happen to be the one in a million or so they attack.

Earl Shelsby


Disney World incentive absurd

After reading the Jan. 14 article regarding the immunization incentive being considered by the Baltimore County Health Department, I was so appalled, I had to express my opinion ("A shot at going to Disney World").

The article referred to ''reluctant parents," but in reality we are referring to irresponsible parents.

Since when is it necessary to reward parents for properly caring for their child? I was brought up to accept the responsibilities for my decisions and behavior.

We live in a truly pathetic society if we are forced to offer incentives -- a free trip to Disney World -- to parents for fulfilling their ordinary parental obligations.

I sincerely hope that the Baltimore County Council can see the absurdity in this idea and not approve it.

M. Wunder


Pub Date: 1/24/98

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