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Western Troops face first inspection

November 11, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Fifty-two Maryland State Police troopers stood in formation Wednesday during the Western Troops' first superintendent's inspection in several years.

Troopers arrived Wednesday morning wearing freshly polished black shoes, shined brass medals and crisp uniforms.

Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Thomas "Tim" Hutchins, of state police headquarters in Pikesville, Md., conducted a traditional superintendent's inspection with troopers from the Frederick, Hagerstown, Cumberland, and McHenry barracks in Western Maryland. Starting shortly after 10 a.m., Hutchins and members of his staff inspected weapons, uniforms and vehicles of participating troopers at the National Guard Armory on Roxbury Road.

"The inspections gives me an opportunity to see the troopers one-on-one and up close," said Hutchins, who previously held inspections in other parts of the state.

Appointed by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich in December 2003, Hutchins said he hoped to leave troopers with the message that state leaders appreciate the risks they take every day protecting the lives of motorists on Maryland highways.

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"We had that brought home to us very poignantly in May of this year when trooper Jones was killed," Hutchins said.

Trooper 1st Class Anthony Jones, 50, died when he was struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop in Prince George's County, Md., according to the Maryland State Police Web site.

Retired Hagerstown barrack commander Lt. Allen Swope, 67, watched Hutchins and his staff inspect each trooper.

"It was very dignified for them to invite the retirees," he said, "We can't forget the history of the organization and the troopers that helped to build it."

Washington County Sheriff's Department Capt. Doug Mullendore was one of several local law enforcement leaders who turned out to support the inspection.

"The rank-and-file officers need to have the inspection. The fact that the colonel has an interest in the Western Maryland Troop says a lot to the men and women on the road," Mullendore said.

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