The occupation of a Democratic primary candidate in the Prince George's County sheriff's race was unclear in a story in the Aug. 16 Maryland Weekly. Lawrence E. Keval is a Library of Congress police officer. (Published 10/4/90)
Frederick Jones, a former District Court commissioner hoping to oust Prince George's County Sheriff James V. Aluisi in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary, faults the incumbent for what Jones calls years of "mismanagement."
Lawrence E. Keval, a Library of Congress security guard who also is seeking Aluisi's $78,000-a-year job, says that the three-term sheriff has been around too long and that the department needs invigorating fresh air.
Both candidates contend that Aluisi lacks law-enforcement expertise.
So what does Aluisi say?
"Call me Jimmy," is what he usually says first -- and with an eager smile. Then his hand finds yours and shakes it. A minute later, he might even slip you his card. Aluisi's father was a local politician, and "Jimmy" has been one himself for quite some time. He is good at it too.
Yet if his opponents accuse him of being little more than that -- a glad-hander -- they are wrong, he says.
"Fourteen years ago, I think it was, a grand jury called this a department of overweight, under-educated, gun-toting deputies," said Aluisi, 44, who was elected to his first four-year term in 1978. "That wasn't a fair assessment, but there was some validity to it . . . . Today we have a model department, one of the best on the East Coast, and I'm very proud of it."
Jones and Keval disagree.
As a Distict Court commissioner, Jones signed arrest warrants. He said he watched them pile up unserved by Aluisi's deputies.
"They don't have the manpower, or they're not using the manpower right," said Jones, 56, of Hillcrest Heights. "They need more money and they need more people, and the sheriff has not gone after those things."
The department, operating with an $8.5 million budget this fiscal year, employs 260 people, most of them deputies.
Aluisi, who is from Upper Marlboro, said he is "never satisfied" with the number of deputies working for him and regularly seeks money to hire more. But he scoffed at Jones's comment about warrants.
"This department made 22,000 arrests in 1989," Aluisi said.
Jones said that if elected, he would require personnel to undergo more in-service training. But Aluisi said each of his deputies, abiding by state law, undergoes at least 35 hours of in-service training every two years in such areas as investigations, firearms, ethics and management.
Besides serving arrest warrants, deputies also provide courthouse security, transport prisoners, handle evictions and deliver civil summonses.
Jones, seeking public office for the first time, served 22 years in the Army as a military police officer before becoming a Smithsonian Institution guard in 1974. He was a District Court commissioner for five years before resigning last month to run for sheriff.
Like Keval, who was a federal drug agent in the 1960s, Jones criticized Aluisi's law-enforcement know-how. As a deputy in the 1960s and 1970s, Aluisi's opponents said, his experience was mostly limited to corrections work.
Keval, 52, of Bowie, was an agent of the federal Bureau of Drug Abuse Control and later the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, both forerunners of the Drug Enforcement Administration. He worked as a real estate agent before becoming a Library of Congress guard in 1984.
He has run unsuccessfully for Congress twice and for the General Assembly once, and lost to Aluisi in the Democratic primary for sheriff in 1986.
Keval said Aluisi belongs to an entrenched Democratic power structure in Prince George's that ought to be dislodged. He said he would "restore confidence and integrity" to the sheriff's department -- although he declined to cite any instance in which Aluisi showed a lack of integrity.
Keval also said he has "much more education" than the incumbent. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati, compared with Aluisi's associate's degree from Prince George's Community College.
There are no Republican candidates for sheriff.