County police deserve credit for waiting out Joseph...


March 29, 2000

County police deserve credit for waiting out Joseph Palczynski . . .

In response to criticism of the handling of the Palczynski case, I'd like to commend the fine job done by County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Baltimore County Police Chief Terry Sheridan, as well as the by the county's fine police officers ("In face of criticism, police explain their actions during siege," March 23).

In such situations, people are quick to criticize, but I don't think many realize that the hands of these officials were tied.

Why was Palczynski walking the streets of Baltimore County to begin with?

If there is blame to place, place it on the court commissioner who let Palczynski out on the streets after several other offenses. The county executive and police chief, along with the men and women in blue, should be commended for protecting the lives of residents.

Joanne Fetzer


I thank the men and women of the Baltimore County police and other cooperating law enforcement agencies for using deadly force in the resolution of the Palczynski standoff.

This saved the taxpayers of this state several thousands of dollars in lengthy trial proceedings that would have been necessary to prosecute Palczynski.

It also saved those who might have become future victims of Palczynski, if he had gotten off because of a clerical error or a lenient judge's reduced sentence.

And it sent a clear message to other psychopaths and murderers that if they engage in deadly behavior, they will answer to deadly force.

Joseph F. Lagna


I commend the police departments involved in the Joseph Palczynski manhunt and standoff for a job well done.

To all the anti-gun advocates who believe that tighter gun control would have prevented Palczynski's crimes, remember that he did not get his weapons legally.

To all the Monday morning quarterbacks who believe the police did wrong or the hostages did things they would not do, walk a mile in their shoes.

Albert Franklin Hunt Jr.


. . . or should credit go to the resourceful hostages?

Anyone will agree that the standoff with Joseph Palczynski was a nightmare.

However I find it ludicrous that the politicians are "congratulating" Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger with "slaps on the back while walking the hallways in Annapolis" for "showing great leadership."("Executive played key support role in standoff," March 23).

If anyone should be receiving recognition for the outcome of the standoff, it should be hostages Lynn Whitehead and Andy McCord.

Ultimately, they had to rescue themselves, while the bureaucrats and police stood by watching.

Mike Kay


As usual, men were given the accolades for the successful conclusion of the Palczynski standoff.

But who was really responsible for ending the siege? Was it the Baltimore County police? No. Most likely, they would still be waiting for a miracle.

Was it Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger? What did he actually do?

The real heroine of the stand-off, and the person who thought of and carried out a plan which resulted in the ending of the siege was a woman, Lynn Whitehead.

She saved three lives, and probably prevented many more deaths by remaining calm in a crisis situation and devising and executing a remarkable and brave plan of action.

She, and only she, deserves the accolades that are being given to the men involved.

B. Zalesky


God forbid I ever find myself in a hostage situation.

But if I do, give the cops a day off; send Lynn Whitehead to rescue me.

Ginny Sinsz


It's unfair to criticize hostages for leaving a child

I applaud Susan Reimer for her column ("Parents' knee-jerk reaction," March 23).

None of us know what we do after being held 96 hours by a madman. But the last thing a 12-year-old boy who has been through such an ordeal needs to hear on the radio and on TV is how his father and his father's girlfriend left him to be killed by a madman.

Lynn Whitehead and Andy McCord obviously did the right thing.

Julie Spokus

Middle River

I am saddened by some people' criticism of Andy McCord for jumping out of the window while his son was in the house with Joseph Palczynski.

After Lynn Whitehead left the house, Mr. McCord must have expected the police to break in quickly. The 20 minutes he waited before jumping out himself must have seemed like an eternity.

My heart goes out to that desperate father when I think of the horror he must have felt when, for whatever reason, the police did not immediately take advantage of the kidnapper's drugged state.

I hope people will put themselves in Mr. McCord's shoes and appreciate his bravery. He did the right thing.

Lisa R. Shusterman


It's time to wrap up the Palczynski saga . . .

Lynn Whitehead, Andy McCord and Bradley McCord were not the only ones being held hostage by Joseph Palczynski. The local television news media fed us a steady diet of nothing but Palczynski.

And days after the hostage situation was over, Joe Palczynski still dominated the news.

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