Sheriff's Office branch makes a return in Joppa

Ellsworth Place townhouses plays host to new office

December 07, 2003|By Amanda Angel | Amanda Angel,SUN STAFF

County Councilman Dion F. Guthrie remembers when former Harford Sheriff Joseph Meadows closed the Joppa branch of the Sheriff's Office in February.

"When they closed down the office, within a week there were kids on the corner smoking pot," Guthrie said. "The police presence makes a big difference."

Sheriff R. Thomas Golding agreed.

Golding, who took over as sheriff during the summer, reopened the Joppa office last week, but in a new location. The office is now at 392 Ellsworth Place, Unit B3, in the Ellsworth Place townhouse community.

Golding, Guthrie, several sheriff's deputies and community members were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. The office has been staffed since Monday.

The former Joppa office was closed Feb. 1 because of a shortage of personnel, Golding said.

"We had to close it," he said. "We were a little short on staff, and we lost some officers due to 9/11."

Staffing is no longer an issue, Golding said. Officers who went into the military after Sept. 11, 2001, have returned to the department and a new class of deputies recently graduated, allowing the department to fill openings.

Robin Poole, manager of the townhouse community, said the property owners donated the space and are paying the electric bill.

"Just the idea of the police being in the area intimidates the teen-agers from committing vandalism and theft," Poole said.

The Joppa branch will be staffed regularly and will allow deputies to respond quicker to accidents and calls in the area, said Edward Hopkins, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

While the Joppa office was closed, the Southern Precinct in Edgewood handled most of the calls from the area. Golding said the arrangement caused delays in responses.

"It took 15 minutes before you could get a response," he said. "That time is definitely going to be shortened."

In addition, he said, residents can make appointments with officers at the Joppa branch to discuss community issues or voice complaints.

"Hopefully, residents will contact us and we'll be able to problem-solve if there's a traffic complaint, or if it's something else," said Deputy 1st Class Alan Monk, who will be working out of the Joppa office.

The phone number for the office is 410-612-1670.

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