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City, state police urged to conserve gasoline

September 03, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY


As gas prices soar, the Hagerstown Police Department and Maryland State Police in Hagerstown are asking their officers and troopers to turn off their engines whenever possible, while the Washington County Sheriff's Department has stopped allowing deputies to take their cruisers off-duty.

Sheriff Charles Mades said he asked deputies in patrol, judicial, detention and narcotics units to stop using their cruisers off their shifts in light of rising gas prices.

"We've been through this before," Mades said. "We're trying to do what we can."

Maryland State Police Lt. Greg Johnston said his troopers still will be able to take their cruisers home, but said they already have been instructed to conserve gasoline.

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It's the same case for the Hagerstown Police Department. Capt. Charles Summers, the department's acting chief, said officers were told Thursday to conserve "anytime that they can."

Summers said there are some cruisers that need to run, such as cars that keep K-9s either cool in the summer or warm in the winter.

Some officers need to take their cruisers home because their jobs require them to respond quickly from their houses, Summers said.

"Nobody has a take-home car because it's a perk," he said. "It's because it's needed."

The departments don't require police to pay for their own gas.

Mades said the department still intends to patrol the county as much as it has in the past. He's just asking that deputies stop their cars and get out and walk occasionally.

"With the price of gas, we're gonna have to look at how we do patrol the county," Mades said.

In the month of July, the entire fleet of Sheriff's Department cruisers, between 80 and 90 cars, traveled 136,000 miles and used 10,000 gallons of gasoline, which amounted to $19,213.39 in gas, Mades said.

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