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Sharpsburg residents want access to town police report

May 07, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

A few Sharpsburg residents had sharp words for town officials Monday night concerning recent crime and police protection.

The discussion started out with some frustrated town residents wanting to know why the monthly police report hadn't been posted in Town Hall yet and why a summary couldn't be printed in the Town Crier.

They also wanted to know what the mayor and Town Council were going to do to keep crime down after some recent incidents, including a brawl.

By the end of the meeting, Mayor Sid Gale and resident Jennifer Silbert, who had raised the issue, agreed to both call the Neighborhood Watch officer with the Washington County Sheriff's Department to set up a meeting.

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From talking to the officer before, Silbert said, he would not come to the meeting unless eight to 10 residents would attend.

Gale said that shouldn't be a problem.

Making the police report available would help residents know what type of criminal activity was going on, making it more likely people would band together and help each other, resident Fonda Ghiardi said.

Gale said he would provide copies of the report in Town Hall.

Gale said before he moved to town in 1990 there was a "nest of ruffians" in town. Citizens banded together to solve the problem, he said.

Perhaps another attempt should be made at organizing a Neighborhood Watch, Gale said.

Some residents called for more police protection, including possibly paying overtime.

As a small town, Sharpsburg doesn't have its own police department. A deputy is assigned to patrol Sharpsburg and Keedysville, but he also has to respond to calls across southern Washington County, Gale said.

Recently, some area youths were arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property thanks to an investigation the deputy aided, Councilman Ralph Hammond said.

Another way to deter youngsters from getting into trouble is to get involved in the community and get to know the youths' names, Gale said.

Addressing them by name can have a greater impact when encouraging them to obey laws, Gale said.

Besides a brawl involving a dozen people more than a month ago, one resident was threatened by some young adults who threw bottles in his front yard last Saturday night.

Resident John Toffling said after he walked over to get their license plate number, the youths threatened him.

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