Recently, Facebook users had the opportunity to view the Frederick County sheriff's “cry for help.” He was speaking to a local political group and sharing with them a number of concerns he had for his office: Inability to properly recruit qualified staff, rapidly changing laws he is expected to enforce, lack of support from the various Frederick cultural communities and lack of a career path for his officers. All of which appear true and readily apparent.
The one thing that was also evident was his frustration with having to cope with all of these rapidly changing events.
All of this is understandable as we see similar changes in our professions and work places. Our civilian elected officials also show this frustration in some of their commentary at their meetings. (Cannot understand why people do not volunteer for certain committees and boards)
As we see the post-pandemic world unfolding in the coming months, it is time for citizens to expect our governing representatives to rethink how services provided by a sheriff no longer fits in this post-crisis period.
A number of counties in the DMV area had the foresight to see change coming years ago. And while nothing is perfect, professionalizing the enforcement and community security duties under a properly trained chief was a wise step. A chief who can be properly compensated, will have direct accountability to a citizen council who also provides support and oversight. A modern chief is educated, prepared and expected to be planning and advising as his jurisdiction changes.
One can be sympathetic to what the sheriff is facing, but coping with change is and has always been required of a properly trained and educated manager.
Our elected County Council officials need to begin their share of re-thinking law and justice planning as well.