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Holtzman plans to keep tabs on known criminals when he becomes acting Hagerstown police chief

April 19, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Holtzman
Holtzman

Hagerstown Police Capt. Mark Holtzman said he plans to continue the fight against the city’s drug problem when he becomes the acting police chief in September.

Holtzman said during a recent interview that he also wants to continue to monitor known criminals and to use computer-generated statistics to pinpoint high crime areas.

“The future for us is just going to be to hold the ground we have, continue to work with our limited resources and just tweak all the efficiencies out of the manpower we have,” he said.

Last month, Chief Arthur Smith announced he was going to retire Sept. 6 after 12 years of service with the city.

Smith has said that one of the department’s greatest accomplishments during his tenure was eradicating the open sale of drugs on some of the city’s streets and sidewalks by installing surveillance cameras in narcotics hotspots.

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Holtzman said he wants to continue to use the city’s COMSTAT system, which collects data so officers can identify and address high-crime areas.

Although the police department is authorized to have 105 officers, it only has 98 on duty, Smith said last week.

To make up for the shortfall, Holtzman said the department will continue to tap other resources to free up some of the officers, such as using speed cameras and auxiliary police.

“The pace has not slowed down. We have to remain vigilant,” Holtzman said.

The department also will continue to use the Violence Prevention Initiative, a program that monitors the actions of some of the city’s most violent criminals. As soon as they violate their parole,  officers are sent to pick them up, Holtzman said.

“We stop what we’re doing and go look for them,” he said. “It’s effective. It sends a good message back to the rest of them that we’re watching.”

In addition, new officers will be required to enroll in the department’s wellness program, he said.

The program requires participants to take periodic physical fitness tests and pledge not to use tobacco.

The wellness program is designed to save the city money in health care costs.

Holtzman, 41, grew up in Hagerstown and graduated from Smithsburg High School in 1989. Shortly thereafter, he joined the police department, where he steadily rose through the ranks.

After graduating from the Hagerstown Police Academy in 1992, Holtzman spent four years as a patrolman before being promoted to the Detective Bureau, where he worked for three years.

He was made a sergeant a few years later and transferred to the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, an agency he supervised for six years.

Holtzman returned to the department and was promoted to lieutenant, he said. Some of his duties included shift supervisor and sector manager of the city’s East End. In less than two years, he earned his captain bars.

He said some of his most rewarding duty was working with the city’s Neighborhood 1st groups to establish crime-watch areas.

“Our biggest concern is remaining ready to respond to these communities’ needs,” he said.

Holtzman has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is working toward a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore. He is to attend the FBI National Academy from April to June.

Holtzman and his wife, Laura, have four children.

Holtzman said he plans to apply for the chief’s position when the city advertises for the job.

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