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LETTER: Gahler Declines Meeting With Sheriff

Jeffrey Gahler says Sheriff L. Jesse Bane should discuss staffing levels with the public.

Jeffrey Gahler submitted a letter to local media in recent weeks criticizing comments about staffing levels made by the current sheriff.

Gahler, a Republican who in 2010, contends Sheriff L. Jesse Bane presented false information about the ratio of deputies to the population.

Bane responded and writing his own letter to the editor. In his responses, Bane said the numbers do not reflect all sworn officers, but rather the numbers the sheriff's office alone has to police the county.

Gahler submitted in response to Bane's comments.

In Bane's letter, he extends an invitation to discuss the matter with Gahler.

In Gahler's most recent response, included below, he declines the invitation and outlines the issue of staffing levels as he sees it.

Here is Gahler's third, unedited letter on the subject in its entirety:

Sheriff Bane has proposed a meeting to discuss staffing figures.  I must decline his offer, as I wholeheartedly believe that I am not the appropriate audience.  The audience is each and every citizen of Harford County who deserves to be addressed, accurately and with respect.  It is only fair as it is the citizens who fund the public safety efforts of the Sheriff’s Office and it is the citizens who deserve the whole story. 

Sheriff Bane has already affirmed that the information I have brought forth was (and remains) completely accurate.  In addition, I fully understand how Sheriff Bane is arriving at his staffing level statements and, as I have stressed, the statistics he has chosen to defend are grossly misleading.  When used in any official police reference, the average number of officers per 1,000 population includes all sworn officers employed by all police departments serving a population, regardless of the assignment of those officers.  

If we are willing to look closer at the average of .8 patrol deputies per 1,000 residents in the manner provided and preferred by Sheriff Bane, it would mean that what he is trying to say is there are roughly 197 sworn road deputies available to aid the county’s 247,000 residents (formula: (197/247,000)x1000 = 0.8) and that the other roughly 100 sworn members of the Sheriff Office do not count and the officers of the allied law enforcement agencies who serve portions of Harford County’s population also do not count.  That is how you mathematically arrive at .8 officers per 1,000 residents.  Now Sheriff Bane wants to take this personal calculation and greatly increase staffing levels that are still based on statements related to ratios and not actionable data.  With initial statements related to a goal of 2.7 deputies per 1,000 residents, the Sheriff would have to add 470 more positions to the Patrol force, a 238% increase to the Sheriff’s Office staffing.  Since this issue was brought to light, Sheriff Bane has toned down his staffing statements and most recently spoke of his desire to get to 1.5 deputies per 1,000 residents.  In order to reach the 1.5 ratio, he would still be adding another 173 sworn positions, or 88% more patrol deputies.    

To look at these staffing increases in the form of fiscal impact, based on salary figures obtained from the FY 2011 Harford County Budget for a Deputy First Class, Sheriff Bane is proposing that Harford County residents finance an additional $12,000,000 to $32,000,000 to the Sheriff’s Office’s budget each year.  This conservatively estimated increased burden on the taxpayers does not take into consideration training, equipment, and vehicles, or the fact that many of the additional positions would need to be at supervisory and command ranks.  

As stated previously, I am not debating whether additional personnel are needed.  There may very well be a need for additional patrol personnel.  The point is, Harford County residents and taxpayers deserve to have these needs articulated correctly and based on clearly relayed and factual data.  Using staffing comments that leave a question of somewhere between 173 to 470 additional employees and a potential 50 % increase in the Sheriff’s Office Budget seems irresponsible at best.   

Should Sheriff Bane like to meet with me on the myriad of other issues pertaining to the safety of our families, friends and communities here in Harford County, I would gladly offer my nearly 30 years of policing experience to the mix.  I have been very fortunate to have served in numerous administrative, operational and tactical assignments during my state-wide law enforcement career and can offer a more global perspective on a wide array of public safety issues.   

For example and perhaps as a starting point, effective staffing and the safety of our Correctional Deputies assigned to the Harford County Detention Center are one of the important items I would like to discuss.  During my 2010 campaign, I offered my commitment and my plan to add additional Correctional Deputies prior to the opening of the new expansion of the facility.  Today, a year and a half from Election Day, the Sheriff has opened parts of the new Detention Center expansion without additional staff.  This is a safety issue.  The safety of our deputies, staff, inmates and our citizens and neighborhoods is very important to me.  With a record number of in-custody deaths under Sheriff Bane’s watch, I am disappointed that he does not turn his efforts to effectively staffing the Detention Center.        

 

Sincerely,

Jeffrey R. Gahler

Tom Adkins March 20, 2012 at 01:43 PM
As a staunch Republican, I am embarrassed by the actions of Mr. Gahler. I am not talking about whether his accusations are valid or not, but to continually attack the character of someone, who then invites him to sit down and discuss their differences, only to respond by declining such a meeting and again attack their character using the media is not only childish but cowardly. Never before have I seen such a failed attempt at a politician trying to promote themselves. I voted for Mr. Gahler in the 2010 election. Not because I think Sherrif Bane lacks character, but because we do not share some of the same political viewpoints. But, I can tell you that if Mr. Gahler were to run against Sherrif Bane in the next election, it will be the one and only time in my life that I will vote for a Democrat.
CB9678 March 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Says alot when you repeatedly ask for a meeting with someone and claim he is unapproachable than decline to meet with him!
Dadof2 March 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Mr. Gahler: What game are you playing? You decline a meeting to discuss the staffing figures, yet you offer to meet with Sheriff Bane on the "myriad of other issues." You raised the issue of staffing levels. Be an adult and either meet about it, or stop whining about it. Seems to me you're trying to trump up a new bid for election, but you're shooting yourself in the foot. I don't like your tactic, and I won't be voting for you again in the future.
Mark Thomas Ward March 20, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Jeff, I guess you Pi--ed off some supporters
Joseph D. March 20, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@CB9678 and Dadof2 How pathetic that Jesse (does not deserve to be addressed by any title) needs to have a private meeting to try to figure out what Mr. Gahler is talking about. Looks quite clear from the above letter that Mr. Gahler is not as "confused" as Jesse seems to be. Jesse got caught with his hands in the cookie jar and instead of admiting to it, decides to live the lie. 2014 can't get here soon enough!
Joseph D. March 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I just re-read all three letters from Mr. Gahler and I do not see where he has ever asked for a meeting? Can you be more specific as to when this request was made or do you have as much of a problem with integrity as Jesse? My money is on the lack of integrity. I will be looking forward to your specific cite so that your user name can be vindicated.
Joseph D. March 20, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Mr. Gahler, Looks like you have Pi--ed off some Jesse supporters! Keep up the good work. Alot of deputies are behind you!!!
CB9678 March 21, 2012 at 12:26 AM
It was an editorial during the last campaign. I also happened to vote for Ghaler last time......I will not this time!
It will happen March 21, 2012 at 01:34 AM
I think Bane raised the issue, Gahler simply pointed out that Bane is not being honest with his figures.
It will happen March 21, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I am glad that Mr. Gahler declined to meet with Sheriff Bane. Why would Sheriff Bane need to talk with Mr. Gahler. He just needs to tell us why he thought the need to use incorrect figures when he decided to make the case for more deputies.
Joseph D. March 21, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Let's see, Gahler repeatedly asked to meet with Jesse during the last campaign about staffing issues, over two years ago. Are you saying that Gahler wanted to meet and the all-powerful Bane wouldn’t entertain a meeting with the Republican candidate, but now wants the guy who lost the election to come in and discuss it now? Doesn’t really hold up to the smell test does it? Anyway, you'll forgive me if I doubt the legitimacy of your claim. It is, of course, severely lacking the specific cite that I requested. Most likely because it never happened. It is rather telling that Jesse’s supporters have as much trouble with facts as he does.
Bob Saunders March 21, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I looked hard at both Sherrif candidates and, though I am a life-long democrat, voted for Mr. Gahler. His experience, education and integrity are essential to lead any law enforcement agency. In my opinion Harford County residents lost in the last election; not Mr. Gahler. The significant support he received during the election was from both parties and will continue to grow as long as he remains relevant. I am sure it would be best for any opposition if Mr. Gahler would just go away until 2014. I don't think Mr. Gahler's comments are overly critical. I think he is merely pointing out professional standards that any law enforcement agency should use. In this regard, I certainly trust his education and advice.
Well Known March 21, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Tom you need a reality check. We know Jesse misrepresented the figures to the public. Gahler, a stakeholder, did the right thing pointing it out. Gahler has nothing to gain meeting Jesse because Jesse cannot bring anything valid to the meeting. Jesse is clueless and everyone knows it. Why on earth would you vote for someone who has lied about his law enforcement experience and his education? His lack of operational experience is well-known and as we have seen recently his mismanagement of personnel as well as his confusion about numbers just demonstrates that he is completely incompetent to manage such a large organization. When he was a commander he had a hard time running one division or even a single unit. I am afraid that before the next election Jesse will have completely stripped the Office of the Sheriff of all dignity. He seems to revel in the fact that he is reversing what was a positive trend at the Sheriff's Office. It was once a growing and professional organization. The men and women who work there wanted to go to work and get the bad guys. With Jesse adopting the "Hug a Thug" mentality and ordering his staff to back off the bad guys the deputies feel betrayed and unmotivated. When they make an arrest of a politically connected person the arresting officer is brought in and chastised. I will be voting for Gahler and I will do everything in my power to see Jesse voted out. I want a proven law enforcement official at the helm, not some joker like we have now.
Well Known March 21, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I might add that Gahler never misrepresented his credentials like Jesse has. In my 30 plus years at the Sheriff's Office I never witnessed Jesse perform a single Law Enforcement function. He certainly has the people fooled...
Sheila Dennis March 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Tom, Also as a staunch Republican, a true staunch Republican, I have to wonder if you took the time to read this letter or any of the letters Mr. Gahler submitted on this topic. Look up at the story, Mr. Gahler states that he would be happy to meet with Sheriff Bane and assist him as needed on public safety issues, but that he is not willing to hide the Sheriff’s attempts to mislead the public. How anyone cannot see that Sheriff Bane has done nothing but try to outright mislead and use a fear of too few deputies in order to gain increased personnel and funding is beyond comprehension. I would like to say that I am shocked that an elected official would be so bold as to not be honest, but it appears that Sheriff Bane is cut from the same mold as our Governor. It is shocking that Sheriff Bane still refuses to admit his actions for what they are, when the topic has been so well researched and documented to be blatantly false. I pray that Mr. Gahler decides to run again and, if we are so fortunate, I have no doubt we will see Mr. Gahler as our next Sheriff.
Marc Eaton March 22, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Well Known I will second that. I was there 22 years and he rode a desk from the rank of Corporal to Major. In 22 years I heard him on the radio one time. With all the calls for service you would think that he would be near just one of them to assist in a back up role?
CB9678 March 23, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Shelia I see no where above where the use of the word Hide was? Please paraphrase acurately what was said. Ghaler said he does not believe he is the appropriate audience even though he is the one who brought it up!
Retired from HCSO March 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM
You and I both know that Jesse is afraid to respond to calls for service or initiate a traffic stop. He does not lead by example. How can he ride a police car to and from work and not be near a complaint or see a serious traffic infraction? There were many nights I could not get home after work because there were so many calls that were on my way home. I would stop a car for passing on a double yellow and the guy would be wanted.. well you know how it is. Jesse is one of those guys that thinks he knows the job and will tell you how things should be handled but he never did the work himself. He is a joke. I remember one of his "priorities" one year...to go after the people discharging fireworks on July 4th. Remember him sending out members of the drug task force to enforce the raffle laws and bingo games? Watch out soccer moms..Jesse is watching your fundraiser activities. Who cares about the drug dealers and robbers? Not Jesse. His most recent concerns are to go after his officers and civilians who did not support him in the last election. We all knew that he would lose his marbles at some point. Too bad the jokers that still support him never had to work under him, then they would be singing a different tune. It is justr a shame that his actions reflect badly on the officers who are out there doing their jobs.
Michael Vance Hooper March 30, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Wake up sparrows of Bel Air, why do we need this corruption in such a small town? Main Street is beautiful, our library bests that of Perry Hall, or Fallston. I am only 21, but this makes me feel much older. What can we do to better stitch up our community? If I want to raise a family here one day, will I have hope? Love and Light.

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