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HQ gives Boonsboro Police room to grow

June 02, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO -- Boonsboro Police Chief Jeff Hewett was still getting used to his new surroundings when he took time to gaze across the town-owned King farm property toward Shafer Park, where a giant Ferris wheel could be seen above the treetops.

Hewett was thinking of how he used to have to operate the town's police business in the shadow of carnival rides when the office was in the community building.

Moving from that location in the Eugene C. Smith Community Center building to the new site has given the four-officer force some much-needed room to expand, Hewett said.

The King farmhouse faces Md. 34, near the new Boonsboro Library. Formerly rented as a residence, the farmhouse has been renovated to house police offices upstairs and downstairs.

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There is storage, a conference room and a kitchen, Hewett said. On the lower floor, there is a report room and booking area.

In addition to Hewett, the officers are Richard W. Poffenberger Jr., Shawn Faith and Kevin Morgan, who has a K-9 named Speedy.

"Speedy shares Kevin's office," Hewett said.

Hewett, chief since 2005, remembers the July 2001 fire that gutted the community building offices and forced town meetings and police activities back to Boonsboro Town Hall.

After more than $40,000 in renovations, both operations moved back, but the amount of space was minimal for the police department.

"I was also able to give office space to the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Maryland State Police," Hewett said of the new headquarters.

Deputy 1st Class Kenneth Cain is the Sharpsburg/Keedysville resident deputy while Trooper 1st Class Michael Hegedus represents state police in the area.

In February, the Boonsboro Town Council voted to move the town's police department.

Preparing the property for police use cost $4,000 to $5,000, which the department can pay with leftover funds in its communications budget, Hewett said in February.

Poffenberger came to the force with a long history with Maryland State Police. Hewett also has a state police background and has worked for the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

"I've been here two years and all I ever had was a desk and a chair," Poffenberger said.

Still he stayed for a number of reasons.

"There is good community policing here," Poffenberger said. "And I'm glad to be here because of Jeff."

Hewett first knew Morgan in Frederick County, Md., then later with the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Faith is new to police work, Hewett said.

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