Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

May 06, 2007

Officers, deputies need better benefits

During recent weeks there has been much written concerning policing in Carroll County. The recent budget hearings involving the requests from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and Maryland State Police concerning the resident trooper program has fueled this debate. What has unfortunately been lost is the actual issue, which is a fair and standard retirement and disability plan for members of sheriff's services, not who will be primary - the sheriff's office or a county police force.

The current resident trooper program will be phased out, as indicated in the past by State Police Superintendent Tim Hutchins. To implement a county police force is a matter to be addressed by the Board of Commissioners and the citizens.

The most sensible and cost effective option is to utilize a resource they have used for the past several years, the sheriff's office, a full service law enforcement agency, which has obtained accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The savings of utilizing the sheriff's office vs. a county police force is estimated in the millions of dollars.

However, as stated by Commissioner [Julia Walsh] Gouge, her main concern with using the sheriff's office is that the commissioners cannot control and appoint a sheriff, but they can control the chief of a county police force. As a citizen of Carroll, a taxpayer and voter, Commissioner Gouge will have a difficult time selling that idea.

Law enforcement is a profession based on commitment to the citizens of whom they serve, sacrifice and protect. All police officers, as with our fellow firefighters and EMTs, are specially trained and continually place themselves in harm's way. Police must undergo a physical agility test, a thorough background investigation, a polygraph examination and a battery of psychological tests. They must master certain objectives and pass requirements of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission.

In order to remain a certified police officer, they must annually train within requirements set forth by the training commission. In short, it is not an average career.

Members of the sheriff's office have been conducting primary law enforcement duties for the citizens of Carroll County and working hand in hand with all agencies within the county for many years. All of those allied agencies have a law enforcement retirement and disability plan.

Sheriff [Kenneth L.] Tregoning and the men and women of the sheriff's office only request what is fair and reasonable from the county commissioners: an industry standard defined benefit retirement plan, to include a disability and survivor death benefit.

John Shippee

The writer is president of Carroll County Lodge 20 of the Fraternal Order of Police

Kids need lesson on world events

Carroll County Public Schools have ignored one huge portion of children's education: knowledge of current events in the world.

As a senior enrolled in the Carroll County Public Schools system, I thought I was aware of what was going on in the world. However, a month ago my AP literature teacher placed Escape From Slavery by Francis Bok into my hands.

After reading this book, I was astounded by the horrors of the real world. Escape From Slavery tells Bok's story. He was kidnapped at the age of six and was forced into slavery by another culture that did not speak his native language. The book told of the hundreds of thousands of women and children forced into slavery when one day before they had been safely playing at home.

I thought that slavery and racism was in the past, not happening today. Yet no one, until now, felt it necessary to educate me about the real world. We students memorize history, analyze literature, and compute mathematical equations instead of taking action against the atrocities around the world.

My international studies teacher brought another story of suffering in to my life. Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of a man's experience in Rwanda during a civil war that killed over 800,000 people. The people were begging U.N. forces to intervene; however, the U.N. did nothing and eventually pulled out of the country leaving innocent people to die.

Why would the U.N. do that? Most people, including me, don't know that 27 million people are enslaved across the world. India has some of the highest slavery rates in the world with an estimated 16 million to 115 million children enslaved as laborers in India. Debts owed in India are paid through slavery as well, making the poor even poorer.

The conflicts and genocide come because of a lack of food, protection, and freedom. Starvation leads to a call for help and the most likely attention-getter is violence.

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