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Letters to the editor - 7/21/02

July 21, 2002

CRS' shortfall is not the fault of city police



To the editor:

In response to Tina Miller's letter concerning CRS staff, why attack the Police Department because the Community Rescue Service is being shortchanged? Both are public service jobs and both are rarely completely understood or appreciated. I first want to note that the Washington County administration has nothing to do with the City of Hagerstown Police Department, which you referenced in your letter (bike unit downtown).

I feel however, that perhaps you need a little insight. When was the last time CRS personnel came up on a call in which there was an armed suspect? How many CRS personnel can say they have had their life threatened by someone already convicted of murder? How often do CRS officesr come across someone they have dealt with in a professional capacity in the past, in a personal situation and have an altercation?

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No, this is not Baltimore, but if compared, you will find that the crime rate per population is very close in Hagerstown and Baltimore. There are real threats to their lives both on duty and off. I know, Ms. Miller, I am married to one of our city's finest. These incidents are not made up - these are not dramatic plays on TV - these are experiences our family and most officers' families have experienced. Do you think the families of the CRS members kiss their loved ones good-bye for work knowing that the call they take tonight may be one for a depressed, unemployed, recently divorced, armed man? Do they hold their breaths and pray that the only calls they take tonight are for barking dogs and parking violations?

You reference writing tickets. Would you like to be the one to have lost a loved one to a drunk driver or a fast-driving teen-ager, because the police didn't write that ticket or do the three hours of state-required DUI paperwork to arrest him/her? Do you think that the officers enjoy taking calls for cars parked more than 48 hours in the same place or a neighbor playing the music too loud?

These duties are to help protect your rights as a U.S. citizen, the rights that the citizens of Hagerstown call the officers for help on. One would think you would be happy to know that the crime rate in Hagerstown is down low enough to permit them to take the "she stepped on my property" calls. Sept. 11 is a prime example of firefighters and police officers giving their lives for their fellow man. Maybe we should all be giving a little more respect and support to all those who are there to give their lives when we need them to, instead of looking down on each other.

You minimize what the officers do and live every day in order to try to gain support for CRS. That is not only unwarranted, but is a very naive outlook of an occupation you clearly do not understand. When the last raise was given to the Police Department new insurance rates went into effect for the employees and some officers took a loss on their paychecks. These types of attacks on the Police Department are prime examples of why this community does not deserve the fine officers it has on its streets, putting their lives on the line for you.

Pamela McKoy

Hagerstown




Commissioners' bid was wrong



To the editor:

I would like to thank Charles Burkett of Servtec Custodial Services for his Letter to the Editor concerning the county's recent awarding of a contract for janitorial services at the county's administrative buildings in downtown Hagerstown and the County Extension Office.

I totally agree with him. When the commissioners were presented with the proposed bid award, I noticed that the costs had nearly doubled in the three-year period in which I had been a commissioner. The board was also being asked to reject the low bid, which was $44,000 less than the award recipient, due to the low bidder's failure to submit a bid bond.

Prior to the commissioners' June 18 meeting, I decided to research the bid proposal, and obtained copies of the tape recording from the pre-bid conference, a list of those vendors in attendance at the pre-bid conference and a list of all those vendors requesting bid documents.

I listened to the tape recording and phoned several vendors for their input as to the bid process. From these conversations, four issues surfaced that indicated to me that if these issues could be addressed, the proposal could have been re-bid at a much lower cost to county taxpayers. The four areas identified were: The bonding requirement, a minimum hours requirement, the aggregation of buildings into one bid, and a requirement for a nonworking supervisor.

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