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Recent drug arrest concerns
 Thurmont’s police chief

Jeremy Hauck
The Gazette

(8/2) Thurmont police Chief Gregory L. Eyler on Monday said a recent drug bust near Frederick involving a Thurmont woman and 33 pounds of marijuana does not indicate a drug problem in Thurmont.

Eyler said, however, that drugs – specifically cocaine and marijuana – are ‘‘a concern" for the town of 6,000 residents.

‘‘We do have it," said Eyler, a lifelong Thurmont resident.

Thurmont police made 34 drug arrests between January and July this year, according to Carrie Stumpf, administrative assistant for the department.

State police charged Summer Rockenbaugh, 19, with several drug-related charges, including bringing more than 5 kilograms of marijuana into the state. Police said in a release that officers found the marijuana in her car during a July 20 traffic stop.

Eyler, who has been chief since December 2005, held his second ‘‘meet the chief night" of the year on Monday. Sitting relaxed, in uniform and sipping coffee, Eyler traded anecdotes and updates with a small audience in the town office meeting room.

A group of residents from JerMae Estates Neighborhood Watch program who attended expressed more concern about the health of Eyler’s wife, Brenda – she’s on the mend from an illness that required hospitalization, he said – than with specific crime problems.

Two officers on the force, Lt. Shawn Tyler and Officer Bill Murray, are also facing medical issues that are keeping them out of the line of duty, Eyler told the audience.

‘‘We’re kind of short right now," he said.The department has 10 officers, including Eyler, Tyler and Murray.

Two new officers will join the force next year after they graduate from the Frederick County Law Enforcement Academy, Eyler said. The academy, run by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, trains officers from central and western Maryland in officer safety, firearms, first aid, arrest laws, defensive tactics and emergency vehicle operations. The next academy will train 25 officers beginning Oct. 22.

‘‘It’s generally a seven-month academy," Lt. Tom Winebrenner of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said.

Also during the meeting, Eyler set the date for Thurmont’s National Night Out, a nationwide crime prevention effort sponsored by the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch, for Sept. 29. Residents will be encouraged to turn their lights on and meet Thurmont police officers that night, he said.

‘‘Everybody knows my goal," Eyler said, adding that he wants to ‘‘get officers out" so residents can reach them easily.

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