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Law-enforcement pros run for sheriff

October 23, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Tommy Bowers wants the voters of Washington County to know that he was a good cop and now he wants to be a good sheriff.

"I really miss it," Bowers said. "I want to serve the public the best way I know how."

A former Washington County Sheriff's deputy, Smithsburg police chief and Smithsburg mayor, Bowers said he is running for Washington County Sheriff to fulfill a lifelong dream.

In the general election Nov. 5, Bowers is going up against incumbent Sheriff Charles F. Mades, a retired Maryland State Police trooper who hasn't had a challenger since first being elected in 1986.

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Bowers grew up in Smithsburg and after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, he graduated from the police academy and was hired by the now-defunct Williamsport Police Department. He joined the Washington County Sheriff's Department in 1977.

He rose to the rank of sergeant, supervising an eight-member platoon and taking charge of the resident deputy and cadet programs. Bowers was commander of the SWAT team and chief firearms instructor. He left the sheriff's department in 1987 and has worked for private security firms.

Bowers was Smithsburg's police chief from 1994 to 1997. He was elected mayor of the town in 1998.

"Right now, I'm on a sabbatical so I can campaign," Bowers said. "My next job? I'm hoping it will be Washington County Sheriff."

Standing between Bowers and that goal is Mades, who has spent 41 years of his life in law enforcement.

"I've only had two jobs in my adult life," Mades said. He was a Maryland State Police trooper for 25 years before running for sheriff in 1986.

Now 62, Mades said he brings extensive education and experience to the job, as well as good health and enthusiasm.

"In my 16 years as sheriff, I have encouraged the partnering of our agency with other police in the area to make Washington County a better place to live," Mades said.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, all law enforcement has changed in the United States but Mades said he still believes that the main thrust of his agency is to respond to local people and their needs.

"I'm accessible to the people and will continue to be if re-elected," Mades said, noting that he is listed in the Washington County telephone directory.

During his tenure, the sheriff's department has grown into an agency with a $12.2 million budget and approximately 200 personnel.

"I think I have professionalized this department," Mades said. "I have a proven record of public service and excellence."

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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