Police expenses among $4 million in recommended cuts...

Arundel Digest

May 17, 2002

Police expenses among $4 million in recommended cuts

The county auditor recommended yesterday more than $4 million in cuts to the proposed 2003 county budget.

Appearing before the County Council, auditor Teresa Sutherland recommended a $2.9 million cut to the Police Department's budget, which includes $2 million to purchase a new helicopter. Sutherland suggested that the money be set aside until police clarify the terms of an arrangement with Howard County that allows police from that jurisdiction to also use the county's helicopters in return for a share of maintenance costs. Sutherland also suggested cutting $350,000 from the Police Department's uniform budget. She said the department could spread the uniform purchase over two years.

Later, council members and Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan discussed a compromise that would permit the purchase of uniforms for patrol officers only. Other police employees would receive new uniforms in the 2004 fiscal year.

Sutherland also proposed that the council return $4.5 million in the county's employee health insurance fund to various departments. Each department pays into the fund to cover health benefits for personnel.

County Executive Janet S. Owens has proposed a $883 million spending plan. The County Council is expected to adopt next week a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Inappropriate touching alleged at middle school

A teacher at Arundel Middle School in Odenton has been reassigned pending an investigation of claims that pupils in his classroom engaged in "inappropriate physical contact," said Anne Arundel schools spokeswoman Jane Beckett-Donohue.

Seven pupils in a seventh-grade classroom played a "truth or dare" game last month while the teacher was in the room, officials said.

The pupils involved have been disciplined, said Principal Paul Strickler. The incident came to his attention after other pupils told a teacher about it, he said.

Officials would not identify the teacher involved. On Wednesday, he was reassigned to a location "out of the classroom," Beckett-Donohue said. The investigation is being conducted by the school system and is expected to last several weeks.

Police warn of man impersonating officer

Anne Arundel County police warned the public yesterday about a man impersonating a police officer.

This month, the man, posing as an officer, preyed upon a woman in Pasadena who escaped after a struggle, police said.

The woman was driving on Marley Neck Road on May 3 when she pulled over because a blue light was flashing in a car behind her, police said. A man showed the woman a badge and asked her to leave her vehicle, according to police reports. She asked the man, whom she believed to be an officer, if she could drive to an area with better lighting. The man responded with profanities and threw the woman against her car, struggling with her briefly until she was able to get back in her car and drive off, police said.

The man is described as white, about 6 feet tall, with a medium build, dark blond or light brown hair, clean-cut and wearing a dark blue uniform. He was driving a large dark blue or black sedan, police said.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Detective Robert Evans at 410-222-6145.

Three armed men rob Glen Burnie bank

A Glen Burnie bank was robbed yesterday morning, county police said.

Two armed men wearing masks demanded cash from tellers at the SunTrust in the 7700 block of Ritchie Highway about 9:40 a.m., said Officer Charles Ravenell.

The bank tellers complied with the robbers' demands, Ravenell said. The robbers escaped in a car with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

The holdup remained under investigation late yesterday.

Settlement reached in Taco Bell harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled a 1999 sexual harassment lawsuit it brought on behalf of three workers against a Severna Park company that owns Taco Bell restaurants.

Under the terms of a consent decree, R&R Ventures agrees not to discriminate on the basis of sex, will train workers about sexual harassment and will post notices saying that the company will not engage in sexual harassment, according to an EEOC statement released yesterday.

The settlement also gives $60,000 to the three employees of one of the company's Severna Park Taco Bell restaurants, who complained about inappropriate touching and sexual remarks by a manager, according to the EEOC.

Law OK'd to preserve school board boundaries

Gov. Parris N. Glendening signed into law yesterday a bill that preserves last year's District 32 boundaries for school board representation - and clears the way for Laurel's Eugene Peterson to be appointed to the board.

Newly drawn districts for the General Assembly moved some Anne Arundel County towns into districts that are based in other counties. Because some members of the county school board represent districts that mirror the General Assembly's, that would have meant people who lived in some towns - including parts of Crofton and Gambrills - would not be eligible to run for any four of the district-based seats on the school board.

The bill signed into law yesterday allows people who live in what was District 32, but is not part of another newly drawn district, to run for the open District 32 seat. Peterson was the top vote-getter for that seat at the recent school board nominating convention, even though the redistricting means he doesn't live in District 32 anymore.

The bill was sponsored by Del. John R. Leopold and Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus, both of Anne Arundel County.

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