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Inspecting the troopers

Maryland State Police secretary pays a visit

Maryland State Police secretary pays a visit

August 31, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - State troopers are prepared "to do the bidding of the citizens of Maryland," said Col. Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins, secretary of the Maryland State Police, after he inspected more than 40 local troopers Wednesday morning.

State troopers from Hagerstown, Frederick, Cumberland and McHenry barracks stood at attention in freshly shined dress shoes inside the National Guard Armory while Hutchins spoke with each one.

Hutchins went through the ranks, inspecting each Beretta .40-caliber pistol and asking each trooper a couple of questions.

Local troopers hadn't been inspected since 2004, Capt. Rob Turano said.

"It's important to see the status of the troops," Hutchins said. "It's a chance one-on-one to talk about what's on their mind."

Troopers most often expressed issues with staffing levels, Hutchins said.

Many troopers are retiring now, but Hutchins said that in the last 2 1/2 years, more than 300 troopers have gone through the Maryland State Police Training Academy.

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The inspection of the troopers was followed by an inspection of each trooper's police vehicle. Hutchins looked under the hoods, asked each trooper how their vehicle runs and looked to see if they carry the necessary equipment.

"I spent yesterday washing and waxing. I cleaned my car out completely" said Sgt. Chris Holland of the Cumberland barracks.

Although he has served with the state police for 16 years, Wednesday was his first inspection, Holland said.

"You get some jitters. You don't get to meet the superintendent every day," he said.

Hutchins said it's important that troopers in the state can talk to him because it inspires confidence in the leadership.

Representatives of other local law enforcement agencies, some of them former state troopers, also attended the inspection.

Smithsburg Chief Michael Potter said he remembered spending days preparing his police vehicles for inspection when he served as a state trooper.

Hutchins said he was pleased that police chiefs from other agencies took time to watch the inspection.

"We've got some great partners out here. It makes for a seamless delivery of service and faster police responses because we don't have turf wars," Hutchins said.

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