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Sheriff requests bigger budget

February 21, 2007|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore asked the County Commissioners on Tuesday for an approximately $2.3 million budget increase, mainly for its three divisions.

The increase includes money for eight new deputies, 5.5 percent pay raises for uniformed personnel and security improvements at the Washington County Courthouse in Hagerstown.

The sheriff's department's proposed total budget for fiscal year 2008 is approximately $20.3 million, most of which is for the patrol, judicial and detention center divisions.

Fiscal year 2008 begins July 1.

The commissioners are in the process of reviewing budget proposals from county departments and took no action on the Sheriff's Department's requests.

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The sheriff's department has proposed 2 percent cost-of-living raises on top of 3.5 percent step increases for uniformed personnel, Mullendore said.

It is possible, however, that not all deputies would receive a step increase if they don't receive satisfactory evaluations, Col. Randy Wilkinson said.

Mullendore said the raises are necessary to attract and retain qualified employees and "to keep us competitive with surrounding areas," Mullendore said.

The department also requested six new deputies for the patrol division.

The additional positions will help the department respond to a growing number of calls and decrease response time, Wilkinson said.

In addition, Mullendore said Maryland State Police continues to reduce the number of troopers in Washington County, so a larger Sheriff's Department presence is needed.

Mullendore said the number of state police in the county has dropped from 52 to 32 over the years, with little chance of gaining more troopers.

"They're having tremendous problems ..." Mullendore said. "They've lost a lot of people through attrition and have not been able to replace them."

Commissioner William J. Wivell said the state was "dropping the ball" in the matter.

The six proposed deputy positions include one gang investigator and one computer crimes investigator, Wilkinson said.

The judicial division's proposed budget includes $230,790 to create a sally port in the alley off Summit Avenue that runs alongside the Washington County Courthouse, Mullendore said.

The sallyport would be a secure area in which officers could transport prisoners from vehicles directly to holding cells in the courthouse.

The alley would be closed to the public, Mullendore said.

A security assessment by the National Center for State Courts, requested by Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright, recommended the sally port, according to budget documents.

The judicial division's budget also proposes creating two court security deputy positions. The armed deputies would provide security at the courthouse entrance on Summit Avenue. The department is planning to close the West Washington Street entrance.

The current civilian staff that act as security at the doors would be eliminated over time through attrition, Mullendore said.




Budget at a glance



The Washington County Sheriff's Department's proposed $20.3 million budget for fiscal year 2008 includes:

· $9.76 million for the Washington County Detention Center.

· $8 million for the patrol division.

· $1.19 million for the judicial division.

· Eight new deputies - six for the patrol division and two court security deputies for the judicial division.

· $230,790 for a sally port to securely transport prisoners in the alley off Summit Avenue that runs alongside the Washington County Courthouse.

· 5.5 percent pay raises for uniformed personnel, consisting of 3.5 percent step increases and 2 percent cost-of-living raises.

· 12 replacement police cruisers at a cost of $22,500 each for the patrol division.

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