Police commander returns to Hagerstown station

April 14, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

No stranger to the Hagerstown barrack, Capt. Rob Turano has returned as the commander of the Maryland State Police in Hagerstown as part of a statewide reorganization of the agency.

"I feel very fortunate to be back," Turano said.

A 17-year veteran, Turano previously served as detective sergeant in Hagerstown from 1997-99.

After making lieutenant, Turano then went to the Frederick, Md., barrack for two years as commander. Since January 2002, the newly-promoted captain has been serving as executive officer in the southern region, traveling between five barracks in four counties.

The reorganization also impacted Lt. Greg Johnston, who last spring took over as barrack commander in Hagerstown. Johnston now will serve as Turano's executive officer.


"There were some tough decisions that had to be made during the reorganization," Turano said.

Now that the dust has settled, eight barracks are headed by captains, three by majors and 11 by lieutenants, he said.

"The goal was to put more uniformed officers and supervisors on the road," Turano said.

In the reorganization initiated by Col. Edward Norris, four bureaus have been established within the Maryland State Police. In addition to the new homeland security/intelligence bureau, there is an operations bureau, administration bureau and information and technology bureau, he said in a press release about the plan.

The Hagerstown barrack lost Trooper 1st Class Wayne Smith to the new homeland security division based in Columbia, Md.

In March, Johnston said the reorganization would mean Hagerstown would be getting six people - on paper.

"Actually we are netting five but two of them are already working in the drug task force, with the difference being they will now answer to the barrack instead of headquarters," Johnston said.

The number of troopers added to road patrols is two, Johnston said in early March.

Turano said his mission for the barrack is clear - to investigate all crimes and accidents to the fullest, make arrests and enjoy the job.

"I take our responsibilities very seriously," Turano said. "We can take away peoples' freedom or even take a life in our job - those are very serious things."

Turano stressed that the state police are in the business of law enforcement.

"We can't always be teachers or social workers," he said.

One of his big concerns is the number of fatalities on Washington County highways. There were more than 20 fatalities in 2002 and there already have been nine fatalities this year.

"Most of the uniformed officers and civilians live in this community and that benefits all of us," Turano said. And that includes Turano, who lives here with his wife and their two children.

A native of Carbondale, Pa., Turano has a degree in criminal justice administration.

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