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Sheriff Mades calls it quits after 20 years

December 04, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - As a young Maryland State Police trooper, Charles F. Mades sometimes fought boredom - not crime - during overnight shifts.

More than 40 years later, Mades said he is leaving a job that has become much more hectic and dangerous.

"You know, I can see right now it's a younger person's job," Mades said.

Mades said he told some of his staff after the Washington County Sheriff's election four years ago that he planned to call it quits after finishing his record fifth term. On Wednesday, he said he already had turned in his gun after 20 years as sheriff.

Mades' successor, Col. Douglas Mullendore, officially will become sheriff during a ceremony today at 4:30 p.m. at Washington County Circuit Court.

Mullendore and officials commended Mades' political and professional skills.

"He was the epitome of what a sheriff ... should be," Washington County Administrator Rod Shoop said.

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At events, Mullendore said Mades can work a crowd, addressing participants by first names and asking about their families.

Mullendore, who won the office convincingly in November, said Mades has been a mentor.

"I think he's been an excellent sheriff. He had the interests of the people at heart in everything he did," Mullendore said Sunday.

The son of a trooper, Mades said took early retirement from the Maryland State Police to run for sheriff in 1986.

"It seemed like when I came on, that's what you wanted to do: You really wanted to be a police officer," Mades said.

Mades, 66, of Halfway, said he takes satisfaction in his career, believing he leaves his office better than how he found it.

"I thought for a little guy from Hagerstown, I got to shake hands with three presidents," Mades said.

Though he said he has enjoyed the job, Mades acknowledged feeling frustrated by the bureaucracy of public office.

"A lot of times you're micromanaged by the public. You get tired of defending a lot of things that you do," Mades said.

Beside increasing scrutiny from the public, police officers now face more of society's ills, from alcoholism and drugs to absentee parents, Mades said.

"If we're not ministers or doctors, we're certainly not moms and dads. You've got to raise your own kids," Mades said.

When he began work as a trooper, Mades said the job was laid-back.

"I can remember in 1961, working the midnight to 8 (a.m. shift), you'd touch the radio to see if it was working. Nobody called you on the midnight shift," Mades said.

With the county growing, Mades said law enforcement duties are expanding.

"Now, we're handling 60,000 ... 70,000 calls a year, probably," Mades said.

Mullendore said Mades handled his position without ever showing anger. He listened to people's ideas, Mullendore said.

As an appointee to the state police training commission, Mades was a leader, said Patrick Bradley, the executive director of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions.

Mades has been the vice president of the police commission since 1999, and he also has served as president of the Maryland Sheriffs' Association, Bradley said.

"I can't say enough about the pleasure is was to serve with him, or like I said before, the professionalism and the integrity and the grace that he brought to that position," Bradley said.

Mades said he and his wife, Barbara, are looking forward to traveling and seeing their grandchildren. He said he is happy that he no longer will be tethered by cell phones and pagers.

Law enforcement has been good to him, Mades said.

"I always thought that if you enjoy what you're doing, the time goes by very quickly," Mades said.

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