June 5, 2011

Sheriff’s office works on police transition

6-5-2011 Maryland:

Training is continuing for deputies in the Carroll County Sheriff's Office as they prepare to take over services that have been performed by the Maryland State Police in Westminster.

Starting July 1, the state police will hand over some of the reins to the sheriff's office, making it the primary law enforcement provider in the county. The Carroll County Board of Commissioners recently voted to give the sheriff's office the primary law enforcement designation so that it can begin taking over two crucial state police services.

The sheriff's office is now preparing to take over the sex offender registry and the pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers database in time for the early-July transition.

Westminster barrack commander Lt. Andrew Winner said a state police trooper is in charge of the sex offender registry for Carroll. The trooper ensures all 160 sex offenders in Carroll are accounted for and are abiding by their parole or probation requirements.

"The importance of maintaining that registry and keeping those registered sex offenders in compliance is paramount," Winner said.

Capt. Clarence Lust, of the sheriff's office, said three deputies have been trained to take over the sex offender registry. One deputy, a sergeant, will handle the registry full time with an administrative assistant. Two deputies, Lust said, will serve as backup if the sergeant is gone due to illness, vacation or transfer.

The three deputies have been training with the state police since January, following the board of commissioners' decision for the law enforcement transition. The deputies, Lust said, have already been out in the field with their state police counterpart.

Lust said the sheriff's office is also preparing to take over the pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers database.

Cpl. Todd Liddick, with the state police, maintains and investigates cases involved with the database. Aside from his other investigative duties, Liddick said he spends between 15 and 20 hours a week working with the database.

The database keeps track of transactions made by every pawnbroker, secondhand dealer and junk dealer, and all scrap metal processors in Carroll, Liddick said. When something is reported stolen, Liddick said the database can be checked to see if anything was brought to a local secondhand dealer.

Lust said two deputies are being trained at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission in Sykesville on the ins and outs of the database. One deputy will maintain the database as part of his responsibilities and another will serve as the backup, Lust said.

Aside from the training, Lust said the sheriff's office must also develop its own policies associated with the maintenance of the database. Lust said they have consulted with other agencies and sheriff's offices to find which policies they want to use.

The plan is for the sheriff's office to become the primary law enforcement agency in the county by replacing 45 Maryland State Police troopers with 42 new deputies over the next three years. Lust said he is confident that the sheriff's office will be ready to become the primary law enforcement provider in the county beginning on July 1. ..Source.. by Christian Alexandersen, Times Staff Write

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