New booby traps in the Frederick watershed have revived confusion among city and county agencies about enforcing laws in the area.
On Monday, Frederick resident R.J. Stone found two traps made from sharp, razorlike blades sticking upright from two blocks of wood. They were buried slightly below the surface of a multi-use trail in the watershed near Fishing Creek Road, he said.
Sheldon Barron, a member of Frederick’s ad hoc watershed committee, said the traps were likely new, but it is unclear how long they had been in the watershed.
Traps have been a problem in the watershed since at least 2013. The city’s ad hoc watershed committee has a subgroup of members specifically addressing the issue of law enforcement. The watershed is under the county’s jurisdiction, though the city of Frederick is the property owner.
Signs recently posted in the watershed tell users to call the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to report violations, but confusion among users and law enforcement persists.
When he found the traps, Stone said he first called the Frederick Police Department, which then told him to call the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“I reported it to DNR, and within an hour they were at my house to pick up the blades,” he said.
DNR police told Stone they would forward his concern to city police.
Frederick Police Department spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington said Tuesday that the county, not the city, handles all calls related to the watershed.
The Frederick Police Department has handled calls in the watershed in the past. When users reported seeing spiked traps along bike trails in 2013, city police investigated the matter.
Barron said he found and removed about six traps from a trail above Fishing Creek Road, near Cold Deer Pond, in 2014.
Frederick Alderwoman Kelly Russell said in January that city and county law enforcement had clarified their roles in the watershed, and that the city knew county sheriff’s deputies had jurisdiction over the property.
Department of Natural Resources police had an officer in the area around the time Stone called in, so they stopped by, spokeswoman Candy Thomson said.
“We know that this is happening,” she said of the trap discoveries, “but it’s not in our jurisdiction.”
Thomson said DNR police send reports of warnings and citations in the watershed to the city’s Department of Public Works.
Marc Stachowski, deputy director of the Department of Public Works, said his department forwards reports of found traps to the sheriff’s office.
County sheriff’s deputies acknowledge the need for further discussion.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Amanda Hatcher said deputies will meet with city police “within the next week” to determine how to handle enforcement in the watershed.
“We should have some resolution after we have the meeting,” Hatcher said.