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Town police want wider authority

February 04, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

SMITHSBURG - Police in Smithsburg are seeking a designation from the Washington County Sheriff's Department that would allow officers to make arrests outside their jurisdiction.

Smithsburg Police Chief Michael Potter has requested that officers from the Smithsburg department be given powers as special deputy sheriffs when asked to assist the Sheriff's Department on cases.

Potter said Smithsburg officers sometimes arrive first at scenes in areas near the town such as Cavetown, but do not have the authority to make arrests without the designation. Potter said that is especially a concern in cases involving violent offenders.

"I've always been concerned about that liability because you never know what you're dealing with," he said. "I just want to make sure my people are covered, if need be."

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Special deputy sheriff status would be "very tightly controlled" and would give Smithsburg officers the power to make arrests or issue charges only under certain circumstances.

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