Dear Worcester County Residents,
I have been in office as your Sheriff for three months. As your sheriff, I ride our county roads every day and sometimes at night. One day a week, when possible, I leave the office and patrol the county the entire day, always looking at ways to better serve and make you safe.
In December 2010, I was sworn in as your sheriff. I immediately appointed my chief deputy, J. Dale Smack, and operations officer, Col. Doug Dods, two outstanding individuals and leaders.
I then met with my command staff about promotions in our agency. Promotions can be very difficult when you have so many good deputies and very few openings. I am blessed to have outstanding employees sworn and civilian.
In January, two sergeants were promoted to lieutenant, Lt. Andy McGee and Lt. Eddy Schreier. With these promotions, I am able to have someone in command until 3 a.m. and sometimes later. Previously, when command staff went off duty at 5 p.m., to speak with command you had to wait until the next morning. With the opening of slots at Ocean Downs, a commander is able to maintain the impact it has on our county and see if we need to address any issues.
Det. Sgt. Nate Passwaters was promoted. He is in charge of the Criminal Enforcement Team (narcotics, tobacco, high profile criminals). Team members are the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, ATF, feds, Virginia State Police, Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, and just recently, the Ocean City Police Department and the Maryland State Police have also joined with us. Having these agencies all working together to cross state lines and throughout our county targeting drug dealers is outstanding. Many arrests have been made and more will come.
Promoted to sergeant, Matt Crisafulli, our D.A.R.E. deputy assigned to our schools to teach the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and bullying of other students. More programs are being looked at by our School Resource Deputies, as we are reaching out to our students to be more productive in school and be model students.
Three deputies were promoted to corporal. Cpl. Katie Edgar, who now is in charge of our K-9 program, Cpl. Bethany Ramey, who is a member of our CET, and Cpl. Lisa Maurer, who is part of our civil division, as well as our agency quarter master. All of these promotions will better serve the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and our county.
Later this year, more promotions are expected. With retirements this past year, I have hired four new trainee/deputy sheriffs — two from Pocomoke, one from Snow Hill and one from Somerset County — and they will graduate in June from the Police Academy. I want to give our young people the opportunity to begin their career with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and hopefully, they will end their career with us.
With retirements and the new positions, this is a savings in our budget. A new policy that I have enacted is, anyone I hire full time who resides outside of Worcester County has one year to relocate here, in order to have a take home vehicle.
I have hired a retired Worcester County Sheriff captain part time to manage our evidence room. This position was being held by a full-time lieutenant. This is another huge savings in our budget and frees up time for the full-time lieutenant to handle other duties. I have hired a retired detective/ Maryland State Trooper to work in the child advocacy center on crimes that are committed on our children. This detective worked many years in this field and we are very fortunate to have him on board. This position is funded by a grant and will cover costs of salary, vehicle and equipment.
I have assigned two part-time deputies to our sex offender program. We have reached a high of 84 and that figure is going to increase with new laws coming in effect. We constantly monitor these individuals, where they live and their work place.
More bars and stores will be checked throughout our county to make sure they are not selling alcohol or tobacco to minors. I expect businesses to train their employees to look for false ID’s.
At one time we provided court security for only two courts; today, we provide coverage for seven courts, plus our government center. The parttimers handling these duties do an outstanding job.
We recently met with the county on our budget for 2011-2012. We have been told not to ask for any additional money in the new budget. We will honor that request and our budget committee has shuffled money around in accounts to cover other accounts. Using our part-time deputies in differ- ent roles and reassignments of fulltime deputies makes our agency better. I will continue to look at ways to make our county a safer place.
Meetings are being set up throughout the county for county residents to come and voice their concerns. Please be a voice for your community. If you see any suspicious activity, give us a call. Be involved for a safer county.
This past week, our agency honored retired Sheriff Charles T. Martin at the Grand Hotel in Ocean City. Many of his relatives and friends and law enforcement attended this event to honor Sheriff Martin for 16 years of outstanding service to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and our residents. We will certainly miss him.
Reggie T. Mason
Sheriff of Worcester County