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Md. State Police corporal running for county sheriff

May 04, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Maryland State Police Cpl. Rich Poffenberger filed Wednesday to run for Washington County Sheriff, becoming the fifth man to run for the position which has been held for the past 20 years by Charles F. Mades.

Poffenberger, 46, a Republican, will run against Republicans Jon Galley, 62, Western Correctional Institution warden; Dan Seiler, 58, Cops Inc. chief investigator; and Bill Blair, 52, a retired Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy, in the Sept. 12 primary.

Sheriff's Department Col. Doug Mullendore, 52, is the only Democrat who has filed to run so far, according to Election Board information.

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The general election is Nov. 7.

Poffenberger, of 11813 Big Spring Road in Clear Spring, was born and raised in Washington County and graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 1978. He and his wife, Teresa, have been married for 24 years and have two daughters, Jamie and Jordan.

He plans to retire from Maryland State Police in November after 28 years of service.

"I'm not ready to stop protecting the citizens of this county yet," he said. "I feel I'm more than qualified" for sheriff.

Poffenberger said the county needs central booking, which would reduce the amount of time an officer is doing paperwork, freeing them for patrol.

He said he would like to see more communication among police agencies in the county.

Drugs are the county's biggest crime problem, Poffenberger said. He said that he sees the county police agencies coming together to form a "drug interdiction unit" which would consist of people trained to "identify and target potential hazardous situations and drug trafficking problems."

Poffenberger said he wants to take a "proactive rather than reactive" approach to fighting crime.

In a written biography, Poffenberger said that he comes from a "strong law enforcement background," noting that his father, Dick Poffenberger, served as a Maryland State Police trooper for 37 years.

Poffenberger said one of his biggest contributions to the county and the state was his part in containing and apprehending Washington area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo at an Interstate 70 rest stop near Myersville, Md., in 2002.

Mades, a Democrat, who was elected to a record five terms beginning in 1986, has said he will not seek a sixth term. He has endorsed Mullendore.

The sheriff earns an annual salary of $67,500. The salary for the sheriff was increased to $80,000 by the Maryland General Assembly this past session, according to published reports.

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