Voters Guide - Washington County sheriff

October 30, 2006

Washington County sheriff

Salary: $80,000 per year

Term: Four years

The following questions were asked to the candidates for Washington County sheriff.

1. What is your plan to deal with a growing gang problem in Washington County?

2. Does Washington County need more deputies on patrol and how will you make that possible?

3. Why should people vote for you?

Douglas W. Mullendore, 53


1. As chairman of the Washington County Gang Task Force, the task force is already educating our community on how to recognize gangs. We are also working with Washington County Public Schools to obtain funding for after-school programs for our at-risk youth. In addition, I would establish a gang enforcement unit comprised of officers from law enforcement agencies in the county. Any plan to address the gang problem must be a multi-discipline approach.


2. There is definitely a need for additional deputies to handle the increased call volume because of the growth of our county and the types of crimes being committed. Central Booking will help with the amount of law enforcement resources available, however, I will aggressively seek federal, state and private grants that would be used to hire additional deputies. In addition, I will work cooperatively with county government to hire additional deputies as needed.

3. I am a 29-year law enforcement professional who worked my way through the ranks of the sheriff's office to my present position as chief deputy. I have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration. I am an experienced manager with the responsibility for 230 employees and the $17.6 million budget of the sheriff's office. The next sheriff must have experience in law enforcement, running a detention center and courthouse security. I have these qualifications.

Rich Poffenberger, 46

Clear Spring

1. Various gangs have infiltrated this county because they have been allowed a "safe haven." This needs to change. Commencement of proactive enforcement in order to eliminate their criminal presence, to include but not limited to the steady flow of illegal narcotics in and out of Hagerstown. The public needs educated about gang presence, and juveniles destined for gang involvement need to be provided places to channel their energy in a positive direction.

2. This county is continuously growing and it is imperative to grow with it. The road force is inadequate and will only worsen. Substandard pay for deputies over the years and the loss of state police manpower in the county have contributed to lack of manpower. I will push for county and federal grants for additional deputies over time. Taxpayers in the southern, western and northeast regions of this county should have protection, too.

3. As a trooper for nearly three decades, I am law enforcement. My vast experiences have helped me make split-second life and death decisions throughout my career with countless lives and personal injury spared due to my quick actions. Administrative duties are necessities that allow for decisions to be made over time. A sheriff needs to be a leader and will make the right decision when called upon. I'm that person. I am a leader.

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