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State police investigator glad to work in Washington County

January 03, 2007|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - The new criminal investigation section supervisor at Maryland State Police's Hagerstown barrack is no stranger to Washington County.

Sgt. Dave Bowers, 42, who became the section's supervisor in mid-November, grew up in Halfway and has remained a county resident despite jobs that have taken him across the state in his nearly 20 years as a state trooper.

Bowers took over the post after the section's former sergeant, Steve Ganley, became Washington County Public Schools' safety/security and risk manager Nov. 1.

Before Bowers took his new assignment, he worked as the criminal law coordinator at the Maryland State Police Academy in Sykesville.

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"I wouldn't have left for any other job except to come back to Hagerstown," Bowers said.

Bowers enjoyed teaching and sharing his criminal investigation expertise with prospective troopers, but has always appreciated the history of troopers at the Hagerstown barrack, he said.

Police work was the only thing the 1982 Williamsport High School graduate wanted to do growing up. A Maryland State Police trooper coached him at baseball and former Sheriff Charles Mades, who was a state trooper when Bowers was young, is the father of Bowers' childhood friends.

"I think I was just really impressed with the way that (troopers) carried themselves," he said.

Bowers was a cadet at the Washington County Sheriff's Department while he attended Hagerstown Junior College. He has an associate degree in criminal justice from HCC and a bachelor's degree in management and leadership from Johns Hopkins University.

Bowers spent about seven years as supervisor of the criminal investigation section at the Frederick barrack from 1998 to 2005 and one year as a corporal with Hagerstown's criminal investigation section in 1996. Much of his time before that was spent working as a trooper assigned to narcotics task forces in Washington and Frederick counties.

In 1997, Bowers was promoted to sergeant and was put in charge of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, a federally funded task force, in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

Bowers said he likes the criminal investigation section the best. In Hagerstown, he supervises three criminal investigators, each of whom is working on 12 to 20 cases at a time. Maryland State Police has a homicide unit for the entire state and investigators here focus primarily on investigations into other serious crimes, such as robberies, child abuse and rapes, he said.

"It's just the varied cases that you get. It's a chance to help victims. In narcotics, there are no victims. You just arrest a suspect," he said. "You feel like you can stand up for somebody who can't stand up for themselves."

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