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Grant will help fund eight new cops

August 27, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Eight new police officers might be on the beat in Washington County as the result of a $545,000 grant from the federal Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) program.

The COPS Universal Hiring Program provides funding for 75 percent of the total salary and benefits for each officer for three years, up to a maximum of $75,000 per officer.

The county has to come up with the other 25 percent, plus the cost of uniforms, cruisers, bullets, bulletproof vests and other supplies, said Sheriff Charles F. Mades. Future budgets will have to reflect those costs, he said.

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The county received COPS funding for three new deputies last year, Mades said. Two patrol Halfway and one patrols Boonsboro, he said.

Mades said the demands on the Sheriff's Department have risen significantly each of the last few years without similar increases in officers. Mades said a staffing analysis showed that the patrol department could use 12 more officers.

With the county having to assume the responsibility for police coverage in and around Fort Ritchie starting next year, the department will need even more officers, he said.

Mades said the County Commissioners signed off on the application.

Mades said he was hoping for 100 percent funding of the positions. The commissioners will have to vote again before the officers can be hired.

Mades said the first officers might not reach the street for a year or 18 months because of the need to identify candidates, do background checks and train them.

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