Washington County briefs

March 19, 2003|by TARA REILLY

Three students earn prizes in poster contest

Three Washington County students won gifts, gift certificates and savings bonds Tuesday for their participation in the Home Chemical Safety Poster Contest Program.

The program is sponsored by the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Department of Emergency Services/Emergency Management Agency and the Special Operations Team.

The first-place winner was Megan Deckert from Boonsboro Elementary School. Megan won a gold medal, $100 gift certificate from Circuit City and $100 savings bond and a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) backpack stuffed with gifts from area businesses.

The second-place winner was Danielle Dayhoff from Salem Avenue Elementary School, and the third-place winner was Madeline Burker from Maugansville Elementary School.


The second- and third-place winners each received a $50 gift certificate from Toys R Us, a $50 savings bond and the LEPC backpacks stuffed with gifts and gold medals.

The contest's semi-finalists were: Donald Rowe, Bester Elementary School; Benjamin Weaver, Emma K. Doub Elementary School; Kaitlyn Koby, Sharpsburg Elementary School; Megan Micco, Clear Spring Elementary School; Toni Ortiz, Hickory Elementary School; Jennifer Kendle, Old Forge Elementary School; Amber Byers, Lincolnshire Elementary School and Erica Miranda, Winter Street Elementary School.

The students also received certificates for their achievements and a trip to McDonald's in the Special Operation Team's special support vehicle.

Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner and County Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell each presented proclamations that declared March 16-22 Home Chemical Safety Week.

Serious offenses reach four-year high in 2002

The Washington County Sheriff's Department received 41,368 calls for service in 2002, Lt. Randy Wilkinson said at Tuesday's County Commissioners meeting.

The 2002 calls for service is an increase of 3,658 calls over the 2001 total of 37,710.

Sheriff Charles F. Mades said the department experienced a 7.5 percent increase in calls after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

In 2002, the Sheriff's Department logged 1,519 serious offenses, which were reported to the Maryland State Police Uniform Crime Report Division.

Those serious offenses, which include crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults, must be reported to the Crime Report Division.

The 2002 number was up by 349 serious offenses over the 1,179 reported offenses in 2001. The 2002 number was the highest since at least 1998, according to the information provided by the Sheriff's Department.

Also in 2002, the sheriff's department made 2,816 arrests, which is 15 fewer than in 2001, when the department made 2,831.

Maryland State Police made 543 arrests in 2001, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Almost 3,000 prisoners taken to county jail

Nearly 3,000 prisoners were taken to the Washington County Detention Center in 2002, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's department officials submitted the information to the County Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting.

Of the 2,942 prisoners taken to the jail, 41.47 percent, or 1,220 prisoners, were arrested by the Hagerstown Police Department; 686, or 23.32 percent, were arrested by the Sheriff's Department; and 179, or 6.08 percent were taken in by Maryland State Police, according to the information.

The remaining prisoners were taken in by other arresting agencies.

Detention Center budget lower than other jails

The Washington County Detention Center's fiscal year 2002 budget was the lowest among five Maryland counties that have similar inmate populations, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The 2002 Washington County Detention Center's budget was $6.9 million, and the jail had an average daily inmate population of 372.

The other counties - Charles, Frederick, Harford and Howard - had average inmate populations that ranged from 273 to 456 and operated on budgets ranging from $8.77 million to $12.6 million in 2002.

The Washington County Detention Center generated $1 million in revenue in fiscal year 2003, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Food services contract awarded for prison

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday awarded a $390,124 food services contract for the Detention Center to Aramark Correctional Services Inc. of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

County and Washington County Sheriff's Department officials said the contract will save money because the county will no longer have to deal with the recruitment and retention of food services staff, among other advantages, according to county documents.

The start-up date for the program is anticipated to be May. 1.

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