(11/14/2004) Thurmont Police Chief Terry Frushour wants
the town to look at the pros and cons of replacing his department with county
The Resident Deputy Program offered by the Frederick
County Sheriff's Office would abolish the current Thurmont Police Department:
one lieutenant, two sergeants, three officers and the police chief.
Chief Frushour said that recruiting and retaining staff
has been difficult since he joined the department in 1977. "Applicants were
going to larger departments."
The town of Thurmont will discuss the matter at the 7
p.m. Tuesday commissioners meeting.
Commissioner Glenn Muth said, "It's difficult to find
officers who will work in a small department with the benefits and salaries we
have to offer. It's difficult to offer a whole lot more because we're a small
Town police are busy, Chief Frushour said. They've
answered about 3,900 calls already this year, "anything from a crime to a flat
Mr. Muth said the commissioners asked Chief Frushour to
talk to Sheriff Jim Hagy about hiring a couple deputies. But the sheriff
instead suggested the Resident Deputy Program.
Mr. Muth said he hasn't seen a contract yet, but it is
his understanding that the county would hire the deputies and pay their
salaries and benefits. The town would pay the county a fee for the deputies
stationed in Thurmont.
"We wouldn't have as much control," he said. "The
deputies we'd be assigned would be here semipermanently, until they requested a
The town would have two officers on duty at all times.
Thurmont is eligible for up to 12 deputies. If one gets hurt, a replacement
would be sent, Mr. Muth said.
"There's good and bad to this whole thing," he said.
While no current members of the Thurmont Police
Department would be guaranteed a job in Thurmont, they're qualified to work for
the county, according to Thurmont's Lt. Troy Angell.
"We could request to stay here," Lt. Angell said. "It
would be up to the sheriff who to assign where. I would personally request
staying in Thurmont."
"I'm looking at the change as an opportunity," Lt.
Angell said. He has worked with the police chief for 10 years. "Retirement,
salary and benefits have been an issue. This is an opportunity for officers to
get better salaries and retirement benefits."
Chief Frushour would also be out of a job, and he is
not sure what he would do next.
"I worked my way up through the ranks. I was born and
raised in the area," he said. "You get to know everybody -- the commissioners,
the officers; it's a small department.
"We'll have to see what the citizens of the town say.
That's going to be a big part of the decision."
Chief Frushour said the decision is not one the town
will rush into. "It's a big choice to make."
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