Law enforcement liaison leaving

Busy spokesman for Sheriff's Office will take similar job with state

October 02, 2005|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

Edward Hopkins' second-to-last day of work started with a phone call at 7:30 a.m. from WJZ-TV, and by midday he'd conducted interviews with three television news crews to discuss how the Harford County Sheriff's Office tracks sex offenders.

As he settled into his desk around 2 p.m., he got to dig into the leftovers from his farewell cake.

Hopkins has been the media's go-to guy for comment on county crime for the past decade, the final chapter in a nearly 30-year career with the county Sheriff's Office.

He leaves for the state Department of Juvenile Services in Baltimore, where he is being brought on by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's office to be the spokesman. Lt. James Eyler will be the acting public information officer until a permanent replacement is picked.

"Police officers want to go out and do a good job," Hopkins said. "I liked being that reassuring person who can say it's under control."

Hopkins, known among reporters for his strong work ethic and candidness, worked in a variety of positions since joining the force in 1976 as a dispatcher, including stints as a homicide detective, a sergeant with the Child Advocacy Center, and a night watch commander.

He became a public information officer in 1995 but moved to the Northern Precinct to be a captain 18 months before Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows stepped down amid a sexual harassment probe.

When R. Thomas Golding replaced Meadows, he asked Hopkins to return to the role. But it didn't come easy - Hopkins would have to retire from the force and become a civilian again. That took some urging, Golding said.

"It's always difficult for us in uniform to make the decision to no longer don the badge and weapon, and no longer go out in the field anymore," Golding said. "Eddie has vast experience, and he's well-respected by the media, both print and television. I wanted somebody who was well-versed in that job, and Eddie fit the bill."

Hopkins, 48, grew up in Bel Air in a family of volunteer firefighters. His name appeared in more than 250 articles in The Sun and countless times in local newspapers.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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