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Towns close to making mutual aid agreement

November 15, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

The police chiefs of Boonsboro, Hancock and Smithsburg, former colleagues at the Maryland State Police Hagerstown barrack, might soon become co-workers again through a three-town mutual aid agreement.

The Smithsburg and Boonsboro town councils have approved the agreement, and while it tabled the measure during the Nov. 9 meeting, the Hancock Town Council appears close to approving the document.

Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said he supports the agreement but fears residents will question why officers from Hancock are being paid by the town to work elsewhere.

Hancock Police Chief Steven L. McCarty said that while Maryland State Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Department lend their assistance when possible, they have other duties and cannot always spare officers to assist with parade and event coverage.

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McCarty said he expects the towns will only infrequently need to call upon each other, but when they do, the agreement will grant the assisting officers expanded police powers.

In addition to specific information about what circumstances would prompt the departments to call upon their shared resources, the mayor and council also wanted to find out what legal issues they need to explore before sanctioning the agreement. Lacking that information, the council tabled the measure until its next meeting.

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