In re: "State and Local Police Fight for Turf in Charles County" [Metro, June 20] about alleged difficulties between the Maryland State Police and the Charles County Sheriff's Office.
As I write, the Charles County Sheriff's Office deputies and troopers from the Waldorf Barrack are at state police headquarters working with more than 30 teenagers from their county in a junior police academy. Last year, state troopers and deputies worked almost 9,000 calls for service together in Charles County. The priority of both departments is to provide quality law enforcement services to the people of Charles County, whether together or separately.
Last year, troopers at the Waldorf Barrack increased criminal arrests by 64 percent. Drug arrests were up 37 percent. Traffic citations increased by more than 4 percent; drunk driving arrests were up 10 percent, as were overall calls for service.
On only two occasions did troopers not appear for court. Those troopers have been disciplined. In only two instances were troopers unable to obtain evidence for court. That situation has been remedied.
In the interim, the State Police Violent Crime Strike Force responded repeatedly to Charles County to help suppress armed robberies. The Joint Intelligence Unit was formed by the two departments. This unit obtains and analyzes information about criminal activity in the county to help direct police resources. Unit members visit each elementary, middle and high school in the county to augment drug-, alcohol- and violence-prevention efforts. They also coordinate an annual youth basketball tournament and other youth intervention programs.
As of July 1, drug investigators from both departments have set up shared locations in Charles County to make investigation efforts more effective.
The construction of a new Waldorf barrack will not supplant the sheriff's office. It is to more centrally locate state troopers and provide better response time and more effective police services from the Maryland State Police.
The article listed several incidents involving disputes about arrests made by troopers. We are committed to adhering to the memorandum of understanding. However, when we arrive at the scene of a bank robbery as the suspect is leaving with a bag of money, our troopers are not going to direct traffic until the deputies arrive. An arrest will be made.
DAVID B. MITCHELL
Maryland State Police