Smithsburg residents worried about police coverage

December 03, 1997

Smithsburg residents worried about police coverage


Staff Writer

SMITHSBURG - After a weekend lapse in police protection, some residents said Tuesday they are concerned that the firing of Smithsburg Police Chief Tommy Bowers has left the town vulnerable to crime.

When teenagers were causing problems on Sherri's Way Saturday, five neighbors called police and no one came, the neighbors told the mayor and Town Council Tuesday.

Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said she couldn't understand why because the town's lone officer, Shawn Tyler, was on duty that night.


"There should have been someone down there in minutes. There's something drastically wrong here and I don't know what it is. Believe me, I will get to the bottom of this," she said.

Neighbors called police about 9 p.m. when some teenagers were driving in a late-model Oldsmobile Cutlass with their lights off. Some of the teens were riding on the hood of the car and were fighting, they said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department told the residents they were too busy to come right away.

Meanwhile, other neighbors called about the problem.

Later, when resident Dan Nieves called authorities to complain, he was told that a Maryland State Police officer drove by about 10:30 p.m. and didn't see the teenagers, said resident Dan Nieves.

Residents said they have noticed more problems with crime since the town fired Bowers in August.

"Parents are gone and kids run rampant. We're easy pickings in Whispering Hills and the kids know it," said Tony Snyder.

But Myers said the town has adequate police coverage. The town pays sheriff's deputies to patrol the town, she said.

"You're getting two-officer coverage. You're not going to get 24-hour coverage," she said.

The town cannot hire a replacement for Bowers, who got a court injunction while he fights his dismissal.

A judge is expected to rule today on whether Bowers was wrongly fired.

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