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Long seeks fifth term as state's attorney

June 26, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

M. Kenneth Long has filed for his fifth term as Washington County's state's attorney.

As the county's chief prosecutor, Long, 51, presides over an office that has eight full-time attorneys and an 18-member support staff.

Long said he believes drug crimes and domestic violence will continue to be problems faced by his office. He said he believes his experience and his activities with committees dealing with those societal ills make him uniquely qualified for the post.

"We are continuing to focus on drug cases," Long said. "The numbers are all ahead of last year."

He said the enhanced Regional Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force has taken a hard-line approach to those types of cases, taking an increasing number of defendants to court.

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"There's also been a lot of activity in the domestic violence unit which is a very vital group in this county," Long said.

Police, health professionals, counselors and prosecutors respond to crises and begin working with both parties immediately.

Long said he also is involved with welfare reform as it puts people off public assistance and gets them into the work force.

"We are working to get to the kids who need treatment and attention in these situations," Long said. "It's good to have a prosecutor who is up on these changes."

He pointed to the Alternative Sanctions project which was developed by Long's office in an effort to divert many first-time criminal defendants into drug and alcohol treatment instead of giving them a criminal record.

"This is a big plus for this area," Long said. "We can offer them community service. And now we have a grant application for a weekend community service program, collaborating with the HotSpots project."

Another area Long emphasized is his office's involvement in the victim/witness involvement.

"We have two grants and four people who are helping victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system."

Automation continues to made inroads in the state's attorney's office, connecting it with Washington County District Court. A similar tie-in with Washington County Circuit Court is imminent.

"The new software for case management is going to be installed soon," Long said.

A Republican, Long graduated from Washington and Lee University and the University of Maryland School of Law. He practiced law in Hagerstown from 1973 to 1979, when he became a part-time assistant state's attorney for Washington County.

Unopposed in all four prior elections, Long currently is paid $67,840 a year.

Because of a change in legislation, the state's attorney who takes office in January 1999 will earn $90,428 a year.

The primary election is Sept. 15 with the general election set for Nov. 3.

Long is the only candidate to file for state's attorney so far. The deadline for filing is July 6.

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