Carroll sheriff seeks additional $240,000

April 05, 2006|By LAURA MCCANDLISH | LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTER

Citing an increase in burglaries, auto theft and white-collar crime in Carroll County last year, Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning asked the county commissioners yesterday for an additional $240,000 to run the Sheriff's Office and the county Detention Center in fiscal year 2007.

Tregoning said that residents take pride in the county's historically safe communities, but the 9.5 percent rise in these nonviolent crimes represents the third-highest increase in the state.

With the county's growing population, youth crime has also shot up in recent years, raising the number of juveniles the detention center transports to other facilities, said Maj. Stephen C. Reynolds, the center's assistant warden.

Correctional officers transferred 582 juveniles to the Western Maryland Children's Center in Hagerstown and other shelters in fiscal year 2004, Reynolds said, while in 2005, the center transported 747 juveniles.

Reynolds said he expects that number to rise.

Tregoning's request for additional funds above the $10 million the county's budget office recommends for operating the Sheriff's Office and detention center comes as the county must transition to a local police force.

The Maryland State Police, for decades the county's primary law enforcement agency, announced in December that the department cannot increase the number of officers in its resident trooper program.

Tregoning wants to purchase a polygraph machine, hire an operator and buy a vehicle to be used by that employee. A state law that went into effect last fall requires all new police recruits to pass a polygraph test concerning drug use.

The state police barracks in Westminster has a polygraph machine, but Tregoning said it is often tied up.

"A polygraph is so critical in preparing a case for prosecution," he said.

Reynolds also requested an additional vehicle to transfer juveniles, who make up more than half of the offenders transported by the county detention center. To cover the increasing cost of transporting the youth, the county will be reimbursed up to $50,000 per year from the state Department of Juvenile Services, he said.

Tregoning's request for a crime-scene technician has remained unfunded for the past few years.

The commissioners will weigh the sheriff's proposal as part of its overall budgeting process. County officials generally inform officials of their funding in May, before the budget is adopted. Fiscal year 2007 begins July 1.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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