Tregoning for Carroll sheriff Sun endorsement: Longtime state police officer who ousted incumbent Brown promises effective leadership.

October 09, 1998

THE SHERIFF'S job is largely defined by state constitution and law. The sheriff serves legal papers, runs the jail and provides courthouse security.

Other duties may be added by the county or by the officeholder (as a state "sworn officer").

In Harford and Frederick counties, for example, the sheriff is also the head of law enforcement. In Carroll, the sheriff has sometimes undertaken drug enforcement campaigns.

Above all, the Carroll County sheriff must be an administrator, relying on his own experience but also on the competence of his subordinates. He's not the top cop, not the lead official on criminal justice. But the sheriff is responsible for important elements of the legal system and the penal system.

This election pits Republican Kenneth Tregoning against Democrat Mervin L. Spiwak. Both have served more than 30 years as officers and commanders in large police forces.

Both candidates were drawn to the race by the controversial, flamboyant conduct of the two-term incumbent, John H. Brown.

They criticized Mr. Brown's grandstanding drug enforcement efforts, his schemes to use tent housing for inmate overflow. That focus is gone: Mr. Tregoning soundly defeated Mr. Brown in last month's primary.

Mr. Tregoning is a lieutenant in the Maryland State Police who has commanded the agency's barracks in Carroll and Frederick counties.

He knows the territory and its challenges. He would effectively work with the state police, the primary law enforcement agency in Carroll.

He recognizes that his efforts would be largely dictated by the budget set by the county commissioners. So he will have to prove his claims for efficiencies of operating a drug enforcement unit and establishing a countywide central-booking facility at the jail.

Mr. Spiwak, a retired major in the Baltimore Police Department, is skeptical of those two ideas.

He proposes changes to hold down jail costs, enhance courthouse security and to gain more federal and state grants.

Management of the 112-member department is the key.

For that reason, we endorse Mr. Tregoning for sheriff, with his strong administrative credentials and local law enforcement experience.

There is no election contest for state's attorney.

Republican incumbent Jerry F. Barnes is unchallenged for a second four-year term.

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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