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New Hancock cop

December 27, 2001

Recruit eager to join force



Hancock

By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


When he was young, TJ Buskirk of Hancock said he used to play "cops and robbers" with his brother, Scott, except they both played the cops part, fighting imaginary robbers.

Now the Buskirks are headed to the Western Maryland Police Academy. TJ, 23, will be a new Hancock Police Department officer and Scott, 28, aspires to be a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy.

Both start at the academy on Jan. 7 in Hagerstown. They are scheduled to graduate around June.

Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy announced Buskirk's hiring during Wednesday's meeting.

The move means Hancock will once again have four full-time police officers.

The town had four full-time officers, for the first time, for about seven months in 1998 but Officer Bart Ruppenthal, 26, resigned less than one year after he was hired so he could take a higher-paying job as a Frederick County (Md.) Sheriff's Department deputy.

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The town paid for the officer to attend a state police academy and had no way to force him to repay money they spent on him.

Did the town learn a lesson from that?

"You betcha," Murphy said.

While the town will pay for Buskirk to attend the academy, he had to sign a contract saying he would repay the town part of the cost of attending the academy if he left within four years, Murphy said.

Murphy said he knows Buskirk will do a good job.

"I've known this young man as a young high school student growing up. He is a fine young man. He has an excellent character," he said.

Police Chief Donald Gossage said a background investigation of Buskirk found nothing but glowing comments from everyone who knew him, including grade school and high school teachers, and people who work with him today.

"Just about everyone said he would be an asset to the community," Gossage said.

"He will be an excellent addition to our police department here," he said.

Buskirk was born and raised in Hancock. He owns a house there as well, Gossage said.

Buskirk said he thought about a career in medicine but decided against it. He has been a pharmacist technician at Home Care Pharmacy at the Robinwood Medical Center for about four years, he said.

Instead he wanted to work in law enforcement and when he heard his hometown was looking for an officer, he applied.

"It would be a good place to work," he figured. The idea of helping people appeals to him, he said. This is his first job in law enforcement.

Now that he has the job, he said he is looking forward to working one-on-one with people, especially those with drug and family problems, he said.

Maybe he can even be a role model for kids, he said.

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