The Anne and Rosie show

Baltimore County: New sheriff gains spotlight, too, but less contentiously than some colleagues.

April 14, 1999

MODERN SHERIFFS just don't get the respect they got in the old Wild West, but that doesn't stop a few from trying. Some seek to elevate themselves and their offices by purchasing equipment more appropriate for commandos, or by waging senseless turf battles with their local police.

Anne K. Strasdauskas, the newly elected sheriff in Baltimore County, last week scored some publicity her brethren might envy, and in a less bizarre vein.

She didn't intend to make a media splash when she requested tickets to the "Rosie O'Donnell Show" last year. She was then a deputy sheriff who had been fired and wanted to see a taping. By the time she was notified she would get tickets, Ms. Strasdauskas had defeated her former boss, incumbent Norman M. Pepersack Jr., in one of the county's nastier races.

As a token of appreciation for the tickets, she sent Ms. O'Donnell a department T-shirt and a plaque appointing her an honorary deputy. Last week, while Ms. Strasdauskas was in line to get into the show, the producers sought her out. She was easy to spot in uniform. They asked her to do the show's opening and introduce the host.

In parts of Maryland, serving legal papers, maintaining courthouse security and running jails are the mundane lot of a sheriff.

Some seem willing to try anything for more prestige. John H. Brown, the Carroll County sheriff who was defeated last fall, was known for brandishing a large ivory-handled pistol in the air when arresting drug suspects. He made headlines, too, by dressing inmates in striped uniforms with a big orange "P" that looked like surplus from an old Edward G. Robinson movie. Mr. Pepersack raised Cain by trying to mimic a police department, like his brother, Robert, once the sheriff in Anne Arundel County. Ms. Strasdauskas stumbled on a less contentious path to fame: She now hopes for a booking on Oprah Winfrey's show.

Pub Date: 4/14/99

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