Chiuchiolo won't run again for sheriff Two-term officer plans to retire to South Carolina

January 29, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Two-term Howard County Sheriff Michael Chiuchiolo has decided not to run for re-election this year and is hoping to turn over the job to his chief deputy, Charles M. "Chuck" Cave.

Chiuchiolo, 57, a Republican, said he will retire and move to South Carolina.

"I felt it was time," said Chiuchiolo, who is widely credited for a variety of programs initiated in the sheriff's office in recent years. "I had given over 33 years to Howard County, and I felt it was time to move on."

Ten months before the election to fill Chiuchiolo's spot, the local Republican Party has signed up Cave to run as a candidate, while the Democrats are considering their options. One Democrat, Russ Walters, a former Howard police chief, said he will decide whether to make a bid for the seat within the next two weeks.

The sheriff's office has a 50-member staff that is responsible for courthouse security -- including transporting prisoners -- as well as the civil duties of serving subpoenas and eviction notices.

Chiuchiolo, who took office in December 1990, said he has worked to "professionalize" the office. As the county's population has expanded over the last decade, so too, have the duties of the sheriff's office.

The number of prisoners held in the courthouse lockup before hearings or trials has increased by 81 percent -- to 3,358 in 1997 -- during his time in office. Similarly, warrants and summonses served by

deputies have increased by more than 60 percent.

Three years ago, Chiuchiolo, put in place a program for defendants sentenced to community service by the county's court system. The office has managed sentences for more than 3,300 Howard County defendants at 75 work sites across the county.

The program, which was expanded last summer to include juvenile offenders, also handles sentences for certain defendants diverted from the court system before a trial.

Cave, 60 -- hired by Chiuchiolo seven years ago -- said he wants to carry on what Chiuchiolo has started.

"I want to make sure we continue the operation as is," Cave said.

Chiuchiolo said he plans to campaign for Cave.

Cave, who lives in Ellicott City, was a Maryland state trooper for 27 years before coming to the sheriff's office. He grew up in Luke, in Allegany County.

Louis Pope, chairman of the Howard County Republican Central Committee, said Cave has broad party support.

Chiuchiolo is "an excellent sheriff, and with him supporting Chuck Cave, Cave is going to have a leg up on anyone," Pope said.

James Kraft, president of the Columbia Democratic Club, said Walters is the only Democrat who has expressed interest in the seat.

Walters, 79, a former Maryland state trooper, was the chief of police for Howard County from 1969 to 1975. The North Laurel resident has coordinated security for businesses since then.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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