The Walkersville Board of Commissioners voted to add a sixth resident Maryland State Police trooper as the town aims to provide around-the-clock police coverage, according to the town’s burgess.
“In order to really get 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage, you probably need between seven and 10 officers,” Burgess Chad Weddle said, considering when troopers are out for vacation, sick leave or off duty.
“This gives us quicker response times — the more people we can have on duty at a given time,” Weddle said.
He said the existing troopers are responsive to residents’ needs, but the growing town could benefit from more. There are four newer residential developments in town and another in the works, according to Weddle.
The state police has offered a Resident Trooper Program since 1968, according to the state’s website. Weddle estimated Walkersville has had its resident troopers since the 1980s. In 2017, Walkersville’s force increased from three to five troopers.
Expenses for the program are shared between the town and state police. Walkersville funds the salaries, some administrative costs and vehicles when needed, Weddle said. Insurance is covered by the state police.
The expense for five troopers is nearly $1.16 million, Weddle said, but that includes state grants and tax equity from Frederick County. The town puts up about $513,000 of its own funds for the five troopers and expects to spend about $125,000 for the sixth addition.
The board took the vote in 2020 in hopes of getting a trooper in place this year, according to Weddle. Town officials are hopeful a new trooper will be in place by September or October.