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Police desk said sometimes vacant

January 21, 1998

Police desk said sometimes vacant

Although the mayor and City Council have said an officer should be on duty at all times at the Hagerstown City Police Department lobby, the desk can be found vacant, city officials said Tuesday.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he has stopped by several times at night and found no one on duty in the lobby. He said he has had to pick up the phone near the entrance to call someone inside.

The city paid to have a bulletproof shield placed in front of the lobby desk so the sergeant on duty could sit there at night, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said.

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Someone needs to be at the desk in case someone runs to the police station in need of immediate help, Metzner said.

"This was a demand we made. It wasn't a request," Metzner said.

Metzner said he was frustrated because city police have been given more officers, but the council still hears about a personnel shortage.

There aren't enough officers to have someone in the lobby, or regularly patrolling downtown or enforcing the speed limit on Hamilton Boulevard, he said.

Metzner said if 10 more officers were hired, he wasn't sure it would do any good.

The matter came up during a work session when Councilman J. Wallace McClure said he wants two lighted signs installed at police headquarters on Burhans Boulevard.

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