Letters to the editor - 5/6/03

May 06, 2003

Making cop cars more efficient

To the editor:

This letter is in response to a reader's remark in your Mail Call section. The reader stated that he or she was upset to see police officers transporting their children to school in their cruisers. The reader stated that they felt this is a waste of tax dollars.

I have done my own research on this subject and would like to rebut the reader's remarks. Upon interviewing Cpl. Sanders at the Washington County Sheriff's Department, I discovered quite a few interesting facts that should enlighten your readers.

Usually 20 to 30 minutes before a deputy's shift is to begin, he or she will leave their home via their cruiser and will mark on (report in over the radio). While enroute to the sheriff's department for roll call, deputies may be dispatched to scenes they may be close to.

For example, if a deputy lives in Sharpsburg and marks on that he or she is enroute to the department, if a call should come in for, say, the Keedysville area, it would be quicker for that deputy to respond, instead of sending out a deputy who is already on his or way to the department to turn in his or her end-of-shift paperwork. As a matter of fact, last year this service (which is only possible due to deputies taking their cruisers home), saved the taxpayers $200,000 to $230,000 in overtime pay.


Also, the life expectancy of a police cruiser is 100,000 miles (about four years), but since the policy of no-turn-in cars began, police cruisers have been lasting longer. Some deputies are now driving cruisers six or seven years old with 150,000 miles on them. A new cruiser costs an average of $26,000. This is just another example of saving tax dollars.

And let's not forget the times we are living in now. Heaven forbid, a horrific tragedy hits our area. Don't you feel safer knowing that our area police force can immediately get in cruisers and get to the aid of our citizens?

I know if my family is in need of help, I don't want to wait on an officer to have to get to the department and pick up a car. Also, just ask anyone who lives in a neighborhood where a police officer lives. The visibility of the cruiser alone is a crime deterrent, and I for one feel safer when I drop my child off at school, and see a police cruiser pulling up.

So the next time you see a police officer transporting his or her child to school using a cruiser, instead of griping about it, why not go up and thank the officer for all they do? Because Homeland Security begins at home.

Stacy Hale

Shelter meeting

To the editor:

According to the public hearing section in The Herald-Mail Wednesday, April 30, The Humane Society of Washington County will hold its annual membership meeting on May 21 at 5 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the shelter. Members wishing to attend should call the shelter at 301-733-2060 before close of business on May 7, 2003. Membership dues must be current in order to attend the meeting.

Board members will be present. Anyone who has concerns, compliments, or questions is encouraged to attend.

Christine Clark

City has problems

To the editor:

This is in response to the article entitled "Parking Meter Pique." The assertion by Peggy Cushwa that an additional 25 cent meter charge will turn away downtown shoppers is laughable.

I live in the City of Hagerstown but would never shop downtown because of the crime, deterioration and filth - not because of a parking meter fee.

You can't walk 20 feet without seeing some dingy bar or empty storefront. If downtown merchants want more customers, why don't they push for more funding for our city police department and building inspectors to get the downtown cleaned up?

I would much rather see my tax dollars go to the city police or cleaning up the downtown, than to fund parking meters.

Christy Craver

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