Letters to the editor

August 16, 2003

Where will prisoners go?

To the editor:

A central booking facility for the Washington County Detention Center has been proposed by members of some Hagerstown area watch groups who want their concerns taken seriously.

I do agree that a facility, as proposed, would more efficiently handle the processing of arrests for area police departments and allow officers to get back to their patrol duties faster.

I also agree that officers would be able to make more arrests in less time, claims backed by Police Chief Arthur Smith. The good chief cites as example that in the last several weeks, (how many one is left to speculate on) say four weeks, city police have made 100 arrests. He states that that number could have been doubled with a central booking facility.


This is all good news if you, like many, are in the very lucrative business of obtaining and detaining individuals. Fact is, however, that at the current intake level, WCDC is operating at near capacity.

If the new facility will double the adult arrests from 3,500 (2002), I hope there are provisions included in Sheriff Made's estimated cost analysis of $1.5 million to $2 million for additional housing units at WCDC. And what about money needed to pay for additional officers?

Just a few weeks ago, there was only one available bunk in the jail's main unit, which houses men, and conditions are unbearable. As of today, the inmate count is at 379. The jail's total capacity is approximately 425.

I fail to believe that the central booking facility is about "untying knots" and freeing up more officers as much as it is about state and federal grants and more importantly, dollars paid to corporations spent on warehousing humans. I also do not believe that this facility will help much to "rid the city's streets of crime."

Seems to me Washington County has become a jail town, with three state prisons and a detention center - so why not add a central booking facility? It's big business.

Leonard Stottlemyer II
Washington County Detention Center

Great game

To the editor:

The evening of June 30 may have been just another hot summer night for some people here in Washington County, but for 14 wonderful boys and three dedicated coaches it was a night to remember.

It was on that night that I had the honor of watching the Halfway Minor League CarQuest Team play against U.A.W. for the 2003 Halfway Minor League Tournament Championship.

CarQuest had already played U.A.W. just two days prior, on Saturday, and if they had won, the championship would have been clenched. However, the U.A.W. Team fought back and won by just one run. Many hearts were broken that day, but they had one more chance on Monday night, as they had only lost once and the tournament was double-elimination.

The suspense was overwhelming, to say the least, to all of the parents (myself definitely included). But these young men proved to us, as well as their coaches, that they were not going to go down easily. The game went back and forth so many times that no one knew what the outcome was going to be. It was a great game and it was played well by both teams.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, which should have been the last inning, U.A.W. was leading and only needed 3 outs to win. Emotions were running high, but CarQuest showed what they were made of and came back to tie the game. This, of course, meant going into extra innings, but CarQuest had used up all of their "good pitchers."

It was then that the coaches turned to a little 7-year-old named Devin Joia to pitch in the top of the seventh and hold them off, which is exactly what he did. That little guy could just get his pitches to the plate, but they were right on the money. Everyone was so excited, as three of our "good hitters" were coming up to bat.

The tension was definitely on. There were two outs with the winning run on third base and it was starting to get late.

Everyone wondered whether this 13-13 tie-game would ever be broken, when up to bat came another little 7-year-old named Chase Eichelberger. When the count reached one ball and two strikes the "impossible" happened. That 7-year-old boy nailed the ball right between the pitcher's feet and brought home the winning run.

I know that I speak for all of the parents, coaches, family members, and friends who watched this game, that we are all so very, very proud of the entire CarQuest Team.

These boys showed us that you can accomplish anything that you put your heart, mind, and soul into, even when under a tremendous amount of pressure. I am definitely grateful to have been given the opportunity to watch a very, very special moment in the lives of these players and coaches. This is something that they will never ever forget and will take through life with them, for they were a part of something great.

Vicky Guessford

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