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Woodsboro Plans to get a Deputy

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News-Post

(9/13/2003) Speeders, vandals, trespassers and even renegade skateboarders had best beware. The town's elected leaders are out to stop you scofflaws.

Woodsboro's commissioners are close to striking a deal with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office to provide community deputy service within the town limits. They met with sheriff's office representatives Tuesday night, discussed the possible action during their board meeting that followed, and appear set to contract for extra enforcement soon.

"The commissioners are in favor of moving forward with this program," Commissioner Dennis Kline said. "We need to identify how our funding is going to be achieved. I probably would hope that within a month, you'll see some action."

The prospect of increased protection in the town was introduced by Burgess Donald Trimmer. He cited problems with vandalism and speeders as primary reasons to heighten law-enforcement efforts.

Several residents also complained about the actions of groups of skateboarders in town. They said the teenagers sometimes impede traffic, trespass, vandalize homes or businesses and violate the town's 11 p.m. curfew for minors.

Mr. Trimmer said it's "a shame that we have to spend taxpayer money to curb these problems" and warned that continuing the program might necessitate a tax increase next year. But he said the situation is beyond the control of town citizens.

"As an individual," the burgess said, "I don't think we can walk up in the middle of a group of 16 year olds and say, `Get off the street' First thing, we'd probably be laying on the bottom of a pile. But police officers have a little more authority."

Commissioner Roger Hub brought up establishing a Neighborhood Watch program to help police identify troublemakers.

The community-deputy program enables municipalities to have officers work in the town for specific periods of time. The county charges $35 an hour for the increased attention and requires that four-hour blocks be contracted.

Frederick County Commissioner Mike Cady, who attended the board meeting, said Myersville and Middletown are involved in enlisted the program and are pleased with its results. Emmitsburg and Lake Linganore also participate.

Residents also asked if the board would enact an ordinance prohibiting skateboarding on streets and sidewalks, but Mr. Trimmer said it was useless to establish an ordinance without anyone to enforce it. He said he wanted to see what impact increased law enforcement will has before outlawing skateboarding.

"We don't like to put laws down that people can't do things," Commissioner Gary Smith said, "but if that's what we have to do, we will do it."

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