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Renovations unveiled at Sheriff's Department

May 14, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

Police and other officials on Tuesday celebrated the renovation and expansion of the Washington County Sheriff's Department patrol division building, which Sheriff Charles Mades said will meet the county's growing police needs.

Mades told the audience of past sheriffs, current county and state legislators and other regional police officials that Washington County's police needs have grown substantially during the 17 years he's been sheriff.

With the renovations, "Washington County is a better place," Mades said.

There were about 18,000 service calls to his department in 1990, Mades said. By 2002, that number had more than doubled to nearly 41,400 calls.

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In that same time period, the Sheriff's Department force has increased from 35 deputies and nine civilians to 60 deputies and 15 civilians, not including eight deputies in training who are expected to join the department in June, Mades said.

Capt. Douglas Mullendore said Tuesday that no officers were displaced during the $1.6 million project that began in September 2000 and ended in January. The work roughly doubled to about 12,700 square feet the area of the patrol building, which was built in 1992.

Mullendore said the size of the training and conference room was increased fourfold, holding cells were improved and the overall operation was made more efficient for officers.

The additions - including shiny hallways and more elbow room - also has boosted officer morale, Mullendore said.

"It's like moving into a new house. You're excited - at least for a little while," he said.

Other law enforcement officials said they also were making changes to make room for increasing police needs.

Capt. Rob Turano, who heads the Hagerstown barrack of the Maryland State Police, said the state General Services department is looking into building a new Hagerstown barrack in late 2005.

Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith said when several officers moved out of the Hagerstown City Police headquarters building on Burhans Boulevard into a downtown substation, that opened up room for internal expansion.

Smith said he believes the Sheriff's Department's renovations will be a benefit as the county's population continues to grow.

"As the county becomes more urban, they're really going to see a huge increase in calls for (police) service," he said.

And while the city is growing, "the county, on the other hand, is going to see explosive growth," he said.

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