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Sheriff gets OK to apply for grant to hire more deputies

May 15, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Commissioners gave Sheriff Charles Mades permission Tuesday to apply for a federal grant to fund up to eight new deputies for additional community policing.

The program would pay a total of $75,000 per officer for a three-year period, Mades said. The county would be obligated to keep the officers for at least one year after the three-year period ends, Mades said.

If the grant is approved, the cost to the county of adding eight deputies, including police cruisers and other equipment, would be about $728,920 for the three-year period, Mades said.

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If the grant is approved, the earliest the eight deputies would be doing community policing is April 2004, he said. The county probably won't know whether it will get the grant until around Christmas, he said.

Adding more deputies would allow the county to be more proactive instead of reactive, Mades said.

The vote to apply for the grant was 3-2, with Commissioners William J. Wivell and John L. Schnebly opposed. Both expressed reservations about the level of funding that the commissioners were locking the county into if it gets the grant.

Schnebly said he wanted to see more explanation regarding the number of deputies Mades was requesting.

Wivell said he voted against the program partially because he is concerned the county will be increasing law enforcement staffing while staffing at the Maryland State Police has declined. Adding more staff will also make it more difficult to afford existing deputies, he said.

If the grant is approved, county funding for the deputies would start in the fiscal 2004 budget, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said. Fiscal year 2003 starts July 1.

The county hired a total of 11 deputies through similar programs in 1996 and 1998, Mades said.

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