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Letters to the editor

March 11, 2005

Police radio is my husband's lifeline


To the editor:

I belong to a group of individuals who share one common bond. We are the spouses of police officers. It is a group bound by a thread of intense pride in what our spouses do, coupled with fear that sometimes borders on panic, when we allow ourselves to think about the dangers our spouses face in the course of one tour of duty. We know that our spouses' lives depend on three things: Their weapon, their car and their radio.

Some of us listen to the scanner; at least there is some comfort in knowing where your spouse is and type of call he/she is responding to. Others choose not to listen, knowing that "routine" traffic stops and domestic violence calls are the two most likely places our spouses are to be killed.

I have had two personal experiences where I felt the radio system was my husband's lifeline. I spent several long minutes wondering if my husband was going to make it home either night. In one situation, as he dealt with a suspected mentally ill man, he called for help and got no answer. The dispatcher continued to call with no response.

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Fortunately, an off-duty Maryland State Trooper was listening to the scanner and came from his home to assist. I have never been so glad to hear "I see the deputy and he's OK."

Another time, he was subduing a suspected DWI individual on the side of the interstate. Again calls for help, then no reply. Finally, I heard another deputy say "He's alongside the road and he's OK." Relief, again.

Now we have moved to the southern part of the county. It is virtually impossible to hear any transmission from an officer more than five miles from our home. We still listen to the scanner and still hear dispatchers saying "Can you return to your car, you are 10-1."

This means the dispatcher cannot hear the transmission. What if they can't return to the car? What if they are trying to call for help? Not only can no one hear them, they might not know their location, either.

I know that the Washington County Commissioners face many difficult budget decisions. However, I do not believe there should be much discussion about a failing communications system that it more three decades old that not only places our officers, EMTs and firefighters in danger, but also citizens and property in this county as well.

I pray that it does not take a death of an officer to resolve this communication issue, especially that of my husband, for I will know that he called for help and no one heard.

Cathy L. Marshall
Hagerstown




Vets appreciate Wal-Mart's support


To the editor:

The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14 of Hagerstown would like to thank our local Hagerstown Wal-Mart store, Gene Hahn and the Good Works Committee at Wal-Mart in Hagerstown.

The Wal-Mart Store in Hagerstown generously donated a check in the amount of $2,500 to our chapter's Forget-Me-Not fund, as a reward for our chapter's volunteer civic work, in which we help and assist disabled veterans, veterans and their families here in the local community.

We at Chapter 14 are very grateful for your continuous annual financial assistance and loyal support.The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14 is a nonprofit organization.Your generous donation to our chapter and the generous donations that we receive from the general public during our annual Forget-Me-Not fund drive each September allows our chapter to continue helping other local area veterans, disabled veterans and their families.

The support of companies such as Wal-Mart and the public each year financially provides our chapter with the much-needed funds for all of our chapter's various programs and donations that we provide.

Thank you again, Wal-Mart, and many thank-you's to all people here in our community who have donated financially to the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14 of Hagerstown. May God bless you all.

Todd R. Cordell
Hagerstown




'Democrat' a noun


To the editor:

Dee Mayberry should also apologize for her improper use of the English language (Feb. 12).

"Democrat" is a noun. When linked to "leadership" or "label," it becomes an adjective and the sentence should read "democratic leadership" or "democratic label."

Mrs. Mayberry is not the only writer to make the pejorative mistake. Many a Republican politician or commentator delights in the offensive expression. But even - especially - a critic should use proper English in fear of losing his or her impartiality.

Mrs. Jeanne Jacobs
Hagerstown

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