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Police hear crime concerns of towns' officials, residents

October 05, 2000

Police hear crime concerns of towns' officials, residents



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


CLEAR SPRING - Representatives from Washington County's municipalities and other organizations met with law enforcement officials Wednesday to discuss problems of vandalism, theft and drug use during a Maryland State Police Barrack Advisory meeting Wednesday.

Sharon Marsh of the Washington County Health Department Division of Addictions and Mental Health Services said that agency's building at 112 W. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown has been repeatedly vandalized.

Windows have been broken, picnic tables destroyed and trees hit by cars, said Marsh.

Additionally, youngsters riding bikes and skateboards have become a nuisance by performing jumps and other tricks on their property, sometimes landing on nearby vehicles, she said.

Marsh said she wasn't sure who was committing the vandalism.

State police said they would relay the information to Hagerstown City Police since that police agency did not send a representative to the meeting.

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First Sgt. Randy Wilkinson of the Washington County Sheriff's Department spoke of the presence of drugs in area schools.

He said LSD had been found recently at Boonsboro High School and said the Sheriff's Department would scan for drugs at Washington County schools throughout the year.

Wilkinson asked Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long about the possibility of requiring students to sign a release allowing police to search their vehicles when deemed necessary in order to receive a parking permit.

"It would be another tool" to fight drugs, said Wilkinson.

He said this would be effective because the "majority of drugs are not in schools but in cars."

K-9 drug dogs are good at detecting drugs in vehicles but are not always available, he said.

"We might be able to do that," said Long. He said it would require some research.

Maryland State Police Sgt. Steve McCarty said that troopers would receive training regarding the hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy because of increasing occurrences of its use in Washington County.

At about $20 a pill, the drug is expensive but has become popular because it is more potent than illicit drugs, he said.

McCarty said the Oak Ridge and South Pointe areas have been experiencing vandalism and car thefts.

"It's typical for this time of year," he said.

He warned people to lock up their cars and homes and "don't set yourself up as a victim."

McCarty expressed frustration at some store owners at Prime Outlets. He said many have had repeated thefts but still have not taken precautions to make it difficult for things to be stolen.

"They need to take a proactive approach. They are putting $300 coats by the doors," he said.

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