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Pleasant Valley residents want to discuss crime with officials

September 02, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Residents in the Pleasant Valley area of southern Washington County hope government officials will attend a meeting to discuss their concerns about crime and emergency response times in their area.

Residents who have formed a group called Citizens for the Preservation of Pleasant Valley have scheduled the meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Rohrersville Ruritan Schoolhouse.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department at 500 Western Maryland Parkway is as far as 25 miles from some locations in the Pleasant Valley area, which is generally considered to include Keedysville, Rohrersville, Brownsville, Sandy Hook and Knoxville, said Kourtney Lowery, spokeswoman for the group.

In late June, several homes in the Sandy Hook area were burglarized, and there were thefts from several homes in the Rohrersville area on the weekend of Aug. 7, Lowery said.

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Lowery said it can take police about 40 minutes to respond to calls in the Pleasant Valley area, and there are concerns about how 911 calls from the area are handled.

Lowery said a woman in the area called 911 to report a break-in at her home and her call went to the Frederick County 911 center instead of to the Washington County 911 center.

Lowery said she thinks the call went to the Frederick County 911 center because some people in Pleasant Valley have 834 and 416 telephone prefixes, which also are used in Frederick County.

"We want to stop them before they become common," Lowery said of the issues.

Washington County Commissioner Kristin Aleshire, who has been invited to the meeting, said Pleasant Valley residents have "valid concerns to raise."

Aleshire, who said he planned to attend the meeting, said concerns over response times are common in rural areas of the county and officials would not be able to solve the problem unless staffing issues were addressed.

Part of the problem is the Washington County Sheriff's Department is very busy, Aleshire said.

One possible solution might be to have other police departments, such as the Hagerstown Police Department, work with the sheriff's department on patrols, he said.

Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore, who planned to attend the meeting, said he would look into some of the issues raised by the group.

Mullendore did not believe having the Hagerstown Police Department help with deputy patrols would be a good plan because that would hurt Hagerstown by taking city officers out of the city.

During the period when the break-ins occurred in Pleasant Valley, a crime prevention team from his department was sent to Pleasant Valley, Mullendore said.

The team, which works to help business owners and homeowners better secure their properties, went door to door in the area to offer help, he said.

If you go ...



What: Meeting of Citizens for the Preservation of Pleasant Valley to discuss crime and emergency response times

When: Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.

Where: Rohrersville Ruritan Schoolhouse, 21023 Rohrersville School Road, Rohrersville

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