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Meth concerns aired at law enforcement meeting

January 12, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

WILLIAMSPORT - Biting dogs, noisy neighbors, skateboarding, speeding and the potential dangers of methamphetamine were among the concerns of local officials when they met Thursday to discuss law enforcement.

A meeting of a new committee of town and City of Hagerstown government representatives and law enforcement officers drew about two dozen people to Williamsport Town Hall.

"It gives an opportunity, it gives a forum to these municipalities," said Washington County Sheriff's Department Col. Randy Wilkinson, who participated in the talks.

Among the goals of the new group, which is sponsored by the Sheriff's Department, are creating uniform ordinances for municipalities and sharing information about issues such as crime trends, Sheriff Doug Mullendore said.

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"As (a representative from) Keedysville said, their little problem of traffic is a major problem for them, and we need to help address that," Mullendore said.

While speeding was a concern for one town, Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II expressed interest in a new ordinance in Hagerstown that fines the owners of properties that frequently are the scene of police calls.

McCleaf said Williamsport has not had trouble with nuisance properties, but he believes the town must be proactive.

"What they've done, Hagers- town's done a great job. What we need to do is we need to do equally the same job," McCleaf said.

At City Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh's urging, Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith warned town officials about the dangers methamphetamine could pose their communities. He encouraged them to lobby for stricter state laws to deal with the problem.

Mullendore said deputies have a difficult time enforcing town ordinances because they vary so much. After the meeting, he said he wants to work with towns to a create a uniform set of ordinances dealing with issues like noise and skateboarding.

"It's going to take a little while because I'll tell you, each town has their own attorneys," Mullendore said.

Wilkinson said he has been encouraged by the meetings. The group first met in October to conduct its organizational meeting, and it will convene quarterly, Mullendore said.

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