Elizabeth M. Piazza
(8/7) Citizens of Thurmont feel that the
Thurmont Police Department is doing a fair to
great job, according to a recent survey
conducted by the Thurmont Police Commission.
The survey, released at the July 23
Thurmont Police Commission Meeting, was
developed by the Thurmont Police Commission to
assist the Thurmont Police Department in
determining the needs of the community. The
survey was sent out with the water bill in
late April. Of 2,000 surveys sent out, 212
completed surveys were returned, an 11 percent
“Typically, there is only a 2 percent
return rate (of surveys of this kind),” said
Tom Iaccarino, chairman of the Thurmont Police
Commission. “This is an indication the town
has spoken about performance and their
greatest areas of concern.” Many surveys were
returned anonymously and the department does
not have the demographics of the respondents.
Sixty percent of the surveys returned
indicated that the crime rate in Thurmont is
normal for a town of its size and “drugs” were
seen as the most prevalent crimes in town,
over theft, vandalism, and speeding.
Seventy-six percent of surveys indicated
that response time for the police department
is either excellent or good, with 70 percent
indicating that the response time was 15
minutes or less.
“I think that’s an outstanding response
time from a police department,” Iaccarino
Forty-one percent of the responses
indicated that nine sworn officers is about
the right amount for a town of Thurmont’s
size, while 23 percent believed it is not
enough. There are currently 10 sworn officers,
including Chief Greg Eyler, but the town’s
authorized strength is 12. Eyler is aiming to
recruit two more officers next year.
As the department finishes its move into
the newly completed 8,100 square foot, $1.8
million police building, it continues to
research various recruitment programs in order
to recruit new officers as well as research
options to help retain existing officers.
“As the cost of living rises, we hope to
put corrections in the budget to increase
salaries across the board,” Iaccarino said.
The survey consisted of 13 questions
regarding citizen interaction with police,
police response time and performance and
future needs of the department. The last
question allowed for citizens to attach
comments that they felt would be helpful to
improve the department. A significant number
of people responded and Eyler will review each
The survey comes at a time when the
department is investigating a rash of car
break-ins and daytime bicycle thefts as well
as a July 20 assault on 77-year-old, Emory
Rice. Three arrests have been made in the
assault, one of which is a 15-year-old boy. A
fourth arrest is expected. Officer Mark DeBord,
who is in charge of the investigation,
declined to comment on the motive for the
assault. The investigation is still pending.
“This is serious,” Eyler said. “We’re going
to find out who did this. We have solved every
major crime since I’ve been here.”
If anyone has any information about this
incident, they are asked to contact Officer
Mark DeBord at (301) 271-0905 ext 114.