Speak Out!

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Harford County

April 10, 2005

In Harford County, the sheriff's office typically turns down half the applicants who apply for jobs because of previous drug use. What changes, if any, should the sheriff's office consider in its policy on previous drug use?

Here are readers' views:

Those who are wiser may be better police

I think that turning down applicants because of previous drug use is wrong. Those that have been through and overcome their addictions can actually say, I know what you're going through, and mean it. They are more streetwise and can see things from another prospective.

I would much rather have a real person pull me over than someone who thinks they are superior. At times, giving a badge to someone with a big ego, is much worse than the man who has learned from his mistakes, and wants to make a positive difference in this world.

Tina Wilson

Forest Hill

Speak Out!: This week's question

ISSUE: Prosecutors report an increasing number of attempts to interfere with witness testimony in criminal cases in Harford County and other suburban areas. Legislation to increase penalties for witness intimidation is before the General Assembly.

PRO: "I really think that we need to deal with this now, this year," said Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County prosecutor, referring to the legislation.

"Unfortunately, in many areas of the state, the bad guys already have the reputation that they know how to get trial delays when they want, they know how to intimidate witnesses when they want and they know how to get the justice system to do what they want it to do," he said. "If we don't put our foot down ... all we're doing is adding to perception that bad guys control the justice system."

CON: Defense attorney Margaret A. Mead said that although there has been a sharp increase in allegations of witness intimidation beyond Baltimore, that doesn't necessarily mean that more witnesses are being threatened.

"There are some witnesses who are reluctant to come to court - because they've previously lied to police or for various and sundry reasons - who are now waving this red flag, `Oh, I feel intimidated,'" she said.

YOUR VIEW: How important do you think witness intimidation is as a legal issue in Maryland and what should be done about it?

Please send e-mail responses by Thursday to harford.speakout @baltsun.com. A selection of responses will be published Sunday. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

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