Sheriff's Office Praised at Public Hearing
Several residents spoke highly of the sheriff's office, recently under fire from the state's attorney.
A half dozen residents attended a public hearing Monday night to offer praise and support for the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, which has come under recent criticism.
The sheriff's office is working for reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Accreditation is a voluntary process that includes a team of assessors examining all aspects of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office policy and procedures, management, operations and support services.
Part of the accreditation process includes a public hearing to gather feedback from the community.
Michelle Jefferson, who said she was speaking on behalf of herself as well as We the People Carroll County, showed her support of the sheriff at Monday night's public hearing.
"I'm here to be a cheerleader for the sheriff's department for a multitude of reasons," Jefferson said. "I stood with the sheriff's department when they wanted to become the primary law enforcement agency in Carroll County."
Last summer the Sheriff's Office began a three-year transition to take over the county's primary policing responsibilities from the Maryland State Police Resident Trooper Program.
Jefferson said that sheriff's deputies have always acted professionally when providing security for We the People rallies.
"Any time there have been issues, which have been few, they handled them in a very professional manner," Jefferson said.
Jefferson said that she knows there have been "hiccups" along the way, but "nothing that should stop things from moving forward."
George Otto III echoed Jefferson's sentiments.
"I think we've got one of the greatest sheriff's departments in the country," Otto said.
Otto acknowledged that "nothing is perfect" but said he wants to see the sheriff's office get re-accredited.
Bob Kurland said that he supports the sheriff's department, which he said "has been under attack by the press of late."
"When everybody said 'can't do,' when we had a hobo jungle here and nobody could figure out whose jurisdiction it was in ... the sheriff stepped up to the plate and cleaned it up," Kurland said, referring to the recent cleanup of a homeless encampment on Rt. 27 at the Rt. 140 overpass.
The assessors said that the comments received at this public hearing and during the phone-in period will be put into a report and submitted to the commission, which will make the decision on accreditation status.