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Sheriff Bane Responds To Gahler Letter On Staffing

While addressing contentions made in a letter to the editor from Jeff Gahler, Bane says he has never intentionally misled the public.

says his recent comments about staffing levels provide an accurate representation to the community.

"In my 39 years in law enforcement I have never made a public statement with the intent of misleading the public," Bane said.

Jeff Gahler, who ran against Bane in the , wrote that contends Bane provided false information at a and .

At these events, Bane said the sheriff's office is operating well below the national average with .8 officers to every 1,000 people.

"[T]he population and officer data does not equal 0.8 officers per 1000 citizens as Sheriff Bane claims," Gahler wrote .

Gahler contends there are actually 1.9 officers per 1000 Harford County citizens, as opposed to .8.

"The number that he cites is correct, however I don’t have that number to police the county," Bane told Patch Friday.

Bane explained that the number of sworn deputies working for the sheriff's office does not translate to the number of feet on the street. Some sworn deputies, those with the power to make an arrest, fulfill the sheriff's office responsibilities in court.

Some deputies are assigned to the Harford County Detention Center, others work on specific tasks like the county's drug taskforce and are not available for patrol, Bane said.

"When you take those officers out of the mix, I have .8, actually it’s a little less than .8, but who’s going to quibble over a tenth of a percentage point," Bane said.

Bane went on to say that when he made the comments about the ratio of deputies, he was not talking about staffing needs, but rather giving the community an idea of how many officers are patrolling the county.

He said it would be misleading the public to talk about the total number of sworn officers when explaining the number of officers policing the county.

"His claim that I’m making false statements isn’t true," Bane said.

The state, or national average, of law enforcement officers is 2.7 per 1,000 citizens, Bane and.

Bane said no matter which way you slice it, Harford County is below the average staffing levels for the state and the country.

Bane said even with these low staffing levels, the crime rate in the county in 2010 was half what it was in 1975. He cited numbers from the governor's office on crime control and prevention that indicate in 1975 there were 129,059 people in the county with a crime rate of 4,336 and in 2010, there were 246,347 people in the county and a crime rate of 2,173.

The numbers represent a decrease in the crime rate by more than half over that 35-year period.

He added that Harford has the fifth lowest crime rate in the state, but is surrounded by jurisdictions with higher crime rates.

"There’s a donut hole there and it is because of the hard work of the men and women of law enforcement in Harford County," Bane said. “No matter how you look at it we have fewer [officers on the street] than the state average and fewer than the national average to work with, but bottom line any jurisdiction in the nation would be proud to have the crime rate we have."

Even with these positive statistics, Bane said, there is a great need for more deputies.

He said if you talk to any deputy, "they would tell you if there’s anything they need it’s more police on the street."

Philip Einhorn March 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Marc if your law enforcement career is over you could find a hobby or you could spend some of your time doing volunteer work. I spend two days a week at our Church giving food to the needy. It relieves frustration and makes me feel like I am making a difference. I hope you find something to release your anger. We in Harford County reelected Sheriff Bane because most of us believe he is doing a good job. The citizens get another opportunity to decide in two years. While he is our Sheriff he deserves our support.
Marc Eaton March 22, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Is that the best you have? I am retired and I have a good time doing this. I have a hobby also so thanks. I am expressing my freedom of speech and Jesse supports me in this. If I was singing the praises of L J Bane would you be my buddy? Does Bane know your on here while you are working?
Philip Einhorn March 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Marc I am also retired so I am not working as I write this. You certainly have the right to free speech. While enjoying this right, as an ex-police officer you know that free speech can cause problems. The problems that I see in your posts is that it might affect our deputies work. They need confidence in their leadership to do their jobs and your actions can only cause problems for those who read or hear your rants. If you think you could do a better job as Sheriff why don't you run for the office? It is always easy to criticize from the outside when you have no responsibility for the outcome.
Marc Eaton March 23, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Phillip, I get my information from those deputies. And your right it is hard to do your job when you work for a vindictive bully like Bane. Your right they need to have confidence, as long as Bane is the Sheriff they will not have that. You never question anything I say you just call them rants. I can back everyone of them up with facts. Bane will address Gahler why not me? I know I could do a better job then Bane. These guys know I would have their backs and these silly political games would not be played. Would you like to be my campaign manager? As you can see I pretty much say what I want, does not make for a good politician now does it? I am not politically correct. You would not have a problem with me if I was a FOJ.
Marc Eaton March 04, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Mildred, you don't want to loose your free finger printing and back ground checks paid for by Sheriff Bane.

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