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McCarty proves you can go home again

June 20, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - As a boy, Steven L. McCarty went to school in the building that in recent years has become Town Hall.

Decades later, McCarty still goes to the building nearly every day, but now he's directly responsible for the safety of the residents in the town in which he grew up.

Last week, Hancock town officials named McCarty as the new chief of police. Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy has said he was impressed by McCarty's work ethic, vision for policing in the town and his "high-profile" status in the community.

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McCarty began with the Hancock Police Department last year as a part-time officer after retiring from the Maryland State Police after 22 years.

Though McCarty is a Halfway resident, he still has family in the Hancock area and remains active with St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, among other groups. McCarty said he is thrilled to have the chance to be police chief in the town where he was raised.

In some ways, life has come full circle for McCarty, whose office is in the same building where he attended elementary school.

"Yesterday, I was standing in the Chamber of Commerce office in the place where my first-grade desk was," McCarty said. "It's pretty neat."

McCarty, who retired from the state police as a captain, said he plans to bring to Hancock the same level of dedication, professionalism and respect for residents that was expected from him at his last position.

McCarty said he is looking most forward to the large amount of contact with people of the community in the line of duty.

"As a sergeant with state police, I spent a lot of time inside wanting to get outside," he said. "To be able to interact with citizens and work with officers is a good balance ... You take stock in the community you deal with."

McCarty, a lifetime member of St. Thomas', said policing is not the only area in which he tries to give back to the community. McCarty said he preaches during some of the church's services and has conducted funerals.

He said he will be a candidate to be ordained as a deacon next year and he hopes to preside over marriage and baptism ceremonies.

McCarty said his involvement in the church is a nice break from police work. He believes his work and his faith are not at odds despite the possibility that he might have to use lethal force to defend himself or uphold the law.

"You've got to reconcile there's evil in the world," McCarty said.

It has been a busy two weeks for McCarty, who traveled to see his son in South Carolina and celebrated birthdays for himself, his wife of 23 years, Melanie, and two sons born within three days of each other.

"Now that's called planned parenthood," he joked.

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