Legislators move ahead on bond authorization

Fears for trooper program had stalled county request

February 11, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County delegation is moving forward with the county's $19 million bond authorization request for capital improvement projects after the seven-member group held up the proposal because of concerns over an item on relocating some of the sheriff's services.

The delegation, particularly state Sen. Larry E. Haines, was concerned that the item was related to a letter written by the county commissioners to the Maryland State Police. The Dec. 4 letter suggested that the three county officials wanted to transfer law-enforcement efforts from the state police's resident trooper program to the county Sheriff's Office.

The letter, the commissioners said, was written in response to comments by the previous state police administration that the trooper program might not be continued.

After meeting with acting state police Superintendent Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins on Monday, the all-Republican delegation voted to submit the bond authorization request to the General Assembly.

"He told us he would keep the resident troopers in Carroll County," said Del. Nancy R. Stocksdale, the delegation's vice chairwoman. "I was very pleased."

Monday's meeting came a week after Hutchins met with county Chief of Staff Steven D. Powell to discuss the future of the resident trooper program, which is Carroll's main law enforcement service.

At the earlier meeting, the superintendent said he's committed to keeping the program in the county but cannot promise additional troopers each year to meet the increasing policing needs in the fast-growing county.

Carroll's resident trooper program began in 1974 and has 51 troopers. Forty-six are assigned to patrol the county, including one who works part-time in New Windsor. The other five are in Mount Airy.

The bond authorization item in question involves $4.2 million to relocate some of the sheriff's services to the former New Windsor Middle School.

The money would be used to rebuild the infrastructure of the 60,000-square-foot school building. The Sheriff's Office would occupy a portion of the building, county officials said.

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