Sheriff Brown clueless about State PoliceOn Aug. 23, The...

Letters

September 06, 1998

Sheriff Brown clueless about State Police

On Aug. 23, The Sun in Carroll featured a lengthy article about the GOP primary for sheriff in Carroll County ("GOP primary for sheriff replays 1994").

During the course of an interview with Sun staff writer Mary Gail Hare, Sheriff John H. Brown reportedly made comments that demonstrate a lack of respect and understanding for the role that members of the Maryland State Police play in the law enforcement community.

At a time when it is critical for all law enforcement agencies to work in unison, the actions and comments of Sheriff Brown have impeded efforts to maximize cohesiveness. Maryland Troopers Association Lodge 20 takes issue with Sheriff Brown's unprofessional conduct.

Sheriff Brown was quoted in the article as saying: "Politicians on every level are bought and sold every day. I'm no politician. I'm a policeman. I handled major crimes. My opponent [Kenneth L. Tregoning] handed out speeding tickets. Even as a barracks commander, he did what Pikesville [state police headquarters] told him."

It would appear that the sheriff is clueless about the role of the State Police. While it is true that most troopers have handed out a few speeding tickets during their careers, it is also fair to say that the most have "handled their share of major crimes."

I am sure that the widows of Cpl. Ted Wolf and TFC Edward Plank would take great exception to Sheriff Brown's comments. These brave troopers were gunned down while engaged in traffic stops.

Enough is enough. It is time for a change at the top in the sheriff's department. Our current sheriff continues to be an embarrassment to law enforcement. It is time to replace him with someone who possesses the ability, integrity and moral fiber to use the resources of that office in an efficient, professional manner.

Earl B. Bredenburg Jr.

Westminster

The writer is president of Maryland Troopers Association Lodge 20, Carroll County.

Schools should begin after Labor Day

I applaud Harford County for waiting until after Labor Day to begin its public schools. I am disappointed that Carroll and Howard counties began theirs on Aug. 24. The hot, muggy, dog days of August are better suited for the beach than the classroom.

Late August is a top time for family vacations. Work schedules often don't permit earlier vacations. The combination of rough surf caused by hurricanes coupled with over half the Ocean City lifeguards having left for school may lead to drownings.

When planning the calendar, I encourage school boards to give public safety, summer vacations and business need for summer help a higher priority.

I wonder why Howard County couldn't have avoided closing schools on Sept. 4 for staff meetings. Why not have these meetings before school begins or on the Sept. 15 primary election day when schools are required to close anyway?

I also noticed that Howard County closes its schools two days in September for religious holidays.

Although accommodating religion is a worthy goal, there are many religions, and it may not be feasible to close schools for all religious holidays.

I would like to see the State Department of Education grant local school boards more flexibility. A 180-day school year should be a goal rather than a mandatory requirement.

Families, business and public safety shouldn't be made to suffer because there are two election days, religious accommodation or a harsh winter requiring many school closings.

Jeffrey H. Marks

Baltimore

System can't rest on its laurels

Thomas Jefferson once described the essentials of American education. He stressed the importance of calculation and writing, reading, history and geography. He also emphasized the need "to instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and as citizens."

Today, education means getting to college and a job. Most school board candidates seem to feel that good buildings and adequate numbers of teachers will enable our children to pass state-mandated tests. They talk of academic excellence as an easy goal because we're near the state's minimal standards. I believe we must change our goals and methods, and heed Jefferson's instructions.

The curriculum must be revitalized, by stressing hard work and self-discipline. Challenge every child to do his best. Too many children learn to get by, or convince their parents the work is too easy, or the material and equipment used by the teacher is antiquated. Our children need to learn more now than we did. Yet the curriculum is simplified and doesn't maintain high standards.

Improvement means controlling children's reading assignments instead of letting them pick books that are easy. It means eliminating make-work dittos and fill-in-the-blank forms and requiring thoughtful, reading-related, written assignments.

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