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What I'll do as sheriff

November 04, 2006|by Rich Poffenberger

As the election for Sheriff of Washington County draws close, I would like to remind the voters of why we have an elected chief law enforcement officer.

Unlike a county police department, in which the chief of police is appointed by the county government, as with the chief of police in Hagerstown, the sheriff is elected by the citizens.

The office is one that needs to be close to the citizens, not merely driven by crime statistics.

As a Maryland State Police supervisor, I did not have the opportunity to attend every organizational meeting offered in Washington County, due to the fact that I was working on patrol and supervising my troopers.

That does not mean that I don't care about these organizations. Most are in the best interest of persons in need and have my support.

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As a member of the state police, in addition to my supervisor status and training, I've received continuous training in specialized fields such as K-9, collision reconstruction, incident command training and officer survival.

I am extremely efficient with any one of these skills. However, education is only as good as a person's ability to apply that knowledge and in this case, for the betterment of the citizens of this county. I've demonstrated time after time that I have the concerns and safety of the citizens of this county in mind as I've performed my duties.

However, that sense of responsibility doesn't stop with the citizens of this county. I'm equally, if not more concerned for the welfare of all of the deputies and employees of the sheriff's department. It is imperative that they be provided for, both functionally and financially, so they are willing to provide the greatest amount of safety to you, the citizens of this county.

The questions I want to ask the voters of Washington County are as follows:

How has the sheriff's department built those community alliances to understand the needs of the community? Have you had deputy sheriffs at your local town, community or church meetings?

How has the sheriffs department determined what level of police service we need in Washington County? Are they asking you or telling you?

The future of homeland security will be law enforcement gathering and analyzing information to identify potential terrorist, as well as drug-related threats. This information is not only developed from law enforcement but from the information reported by citizens to the police.

Without the community alliances and close-up, personal contact with citizens, intelligence will be limited. Limited because of the lack of citizens working with the police. If the current sheriff's administration has not developed these alliances with the community up to now, why do you think they will in the future?

As a state trooper for nearly three decades in Washington County, I've seen more than enough violent crimes and the pain and suffering inflicted on innocent persons. I have strong concerns about the growing drug problems, organized gang activity, domestic violence and traffic problems.

I'm equally, if not more concerned, about the welfare of our children and their safety, both at home and while in school. I can assure the citizens of Washington County I will do what I have always done - stay close to the community, attend community meetings and plan the sheriff's department's goals around the community needs gathered from these meetings and not some stat sheet reflecting the number of crimes committed.

On Nov. 7, I need your endorsement, I need your trust. I need you to know that I'll make the best decisions when it comes to your safety. I need your vote for sheriff of Washington County.

Rich Poffenberger is a Candidate for sheriff,Clear Spring

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