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Former police Capt. Siebert dies

July 14, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Hearing that his lifelong friend George Siebert was ailing, former Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Wood drove 20 hours from his home in Minnesota last weekend to see him.

"I couldn't get a plane so we drove," Wood said. The trip was imperative, Wood said, because their friendship was so strong and had lasted despite a separation of half a continent.

Siebert died early Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 58.

He left behind a loving family and many friends in the Hagerstown Police Department including Wood, who traced their association back to junior high school at the old West Washington Street School.

"We went on to high school together and then he went into the Air Force and I went into the Army," Wood said.

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They both found their way back to Hagerstown after their tours of duty.

At Siebert's urging, Wood applied to the Hagerstown Police Department and joined the force in 1963, just months after Siebert.

"He was one of my best friends ... a really good-hearted man I will miss greatly," Wood said.

Siebert remained on the force until 1995 when he left with the rank of captain to become security chief for the Hagerstown Housing Authority.

He enforced Housing Authority rules and worked to clean up problems in housing projects with his trained security force.

"He was truly the Wyatt Earp of public housing," said Ted Shankle, Hagerstown Housing Authority executive director. "Four years ago when he came, it was the difference between night and day."

Shankle credited Siebert with creating order. "George was so successful in his approach that he will be hard to replace," Shankle said.

Ty Stone will be the interim director of security until a new security chief is hired, Shankle said.

Hagerstown Police Lt. Bob Frick worked with Siebert from 1972 until 1995 when Siebert left to take the Housing Authority job.

"He was a good man to work with," Frick said. "I did see him from time to time after he left but then this happened ... it was so quick."

Taking Siebert's loss especially hard was Capt. Bob Hart, acting police chief, who counted Siebert as one of his best friends.

"It was always the three of us - Paul Wood, George and me," Hart said. "George was a good cop, dedicated to this department."

When he first joined the force in 1963, Siebert was a beat cop. He worked under eight police chiefs, from Blair Overton to Dale Jones, who left the post earlier this year to take a federal job.

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