The Hagerstown Police Department ran a prostitution sting Wednesday night. From a law-enforcement perspective, things were going well, but it was shut down after only three arrests.
Why? Because, under the current system, police say it could take up to four hours to process three suspects.
Why so long? Because the county does not have a central booking facility. It's time to put the idea of getting one on the fast track.
It's not as if the idea hasn't been discussed before. The Frederick County Sheriff's Department has had one since 1996.
In its first year of operation, it processed 2,551 suspects and in those cases in which only a single charge was involved, officers were back on the street in an average of 26 minutes.
That was 10 years ago. Six years ago, J. Michael Nye, then chairman of Hagerstown's Board of Public Safety, called for a central booking facility to cut costs and improve efficiency.