Sher­iff Adams: ‘We’re mak­ing great strides’

First town hall cov­ers va­ri­ety of top­ics

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— Sher­iff Scott Adams cov­ered ev­ery­thing from traf­fic en­force­ment to the county’s drug is­sues dur­ing a wide-rang­ing talk on Wed­nes­day night as part of his first “Ask the Sher­iff” town hall meet­ing.

About a dozen peo­ple, as well as sev­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Ce­cil County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, North East Po­lice Chief Dar­rell Hamil­ton and County Ex­ec­u­tive Alan McCarthy, at­tended the event, which was held at Haven Com­mu­nity Church in North East.

Adams, who has long ad­vo­cated a grass­roots ap­proach to polic­ing, pro­moted the town hall as a way for the pub­lic to bring their con­cerns and ques­tions to law en­force­ment. In the com­ing months, he hopes to hold more such town halls across the county, though a sched­ule has not yet been set.

“I’m never afraid to take a ques­tion,” Adams told the group on Wed­nes­day. “I’m go­ing to tell you what we’re do­ing about it or what I think we can do about it and if I don’t know — be­cause I don’t know ev­ery­thing by any

NORTH EAST

means — I’ll tell you that and try to get an an­swer.”

Be­fore open­ing the floor to ques­tions Wed­nes­day night, Adams gave an up­date on sev­eral dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives the sher­iff’s of­fice has un­der­taken in the last two years, in­clud­ing a re­newed fo­cus on com­mu­nity polic­ing and the for­ma­tion of a ded­i­cated traf­fic unit as well as his agency’s con­tin­u­ing battle against the county’s drug is­sues.

Adams pointed to the for­ma­tion of a Com­mu­nity Re­sources Unit dur­ing his first year in of­fice as the most tan­gi­ble ex­am­ple of the agency’s grass­roots ap­proach to polic­ing but also noted the suc­cess of pro­grams such as No Shave Novem­ber and Shop with a Cop.

He also pointed to the CCSO Ex­plorer’s pro­gram, which al­lows teenagers ages 13 to 18 to learn about po­lice work while also un­der­tak­ing com­mu­nity projects, and the new Home­land Se­cu­rity pro­gram at the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy as ex­am­ples of how CCSO can re­cruit home­town tal­ent to some­day join its ranks.

“When you’re work­ing where you grew up and where you live and where your fam­ily is, you’re in­vested in that area and that com­mu­nity, which is im­por­tant,” said Adams, who grew up in Ce­cil County.

In ad­di­tion to start­ing a Com­mu­nity Re­sources Unit, Adams also re­ceived fund­ing last year for five new deputies and had hoped to put that man­power to­ward start­ing a ded­i­cated Traf­fic Unit. But be­cause it takes so long to hire law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, that unit is just get­ting up and run­ning now, Adams said.

Pre­vi­ously, deputies who were crash in­ves­ti­ga­tors had to do this work on top of their reg­u­lar pa­trol job, mean­ing that they were some­times called in to do in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter al­ready com­plet­ing an 11-hour shift. But now CCSO has its most ex­pe­ri­enced crash investigator as the sole mem­ber of this new traf­fic unit and Adams said he hopes to even­tu­ally have three of­fi­cers in that unit.

CCSO is also try­ing some new tech­niques to tackle speed­ing, which is one of the most fre­quent com­plaints he hears, Adams said. So, us­ing some grants from the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the agency is plan­ning to pur­chase two “speed spies.” These cam­eras don’t give speed­ing tick­ets but rather mon­i­tor the traf­fic and the speeds on a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of road, which can help CCSO de­ter­mine if a par­tic­u­lar speed­ing com­plaint is valid and if en­force­ment is needed, he said.

“We have miles and miles of back­roads in this county,” Adams said. “We don’t have enough peo­ple to be on all those back roads all the time but if we can iden­tify a spe­cific area, we can do some traf­fic de­tails there.”

Adams also dis­cussed CCSO’s ef­forts to tackle the drug prob­lem in Ce­cil County, ac­knowl­edg­ing that a lot of crime “comes back to drugs.” But he pointed to a pro­gram at the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter, which he also over­sees in his ca­pac­ity as sher­iff, as one suc­cess. As part of this vol­un­teer pro­gram, CCSO of­fers Viv­it­rol, or nal­trex­one, to any clean heroin ad­dict be­fore he or she is re­leased from the de­ten­tion cen­ter.

Viv­it­rol blocks the opi­ate re­cep­tors in the brain, mean­ing a per­son who re­ceives the shot can­not feel the high if he or she uses an opi­ate within 29 days af­ter re­ceiv­ing the medicine, Adams said.

Adams em­pha­sized that Viv­it­rol is to­tally dif­fer­ent from methadone, which is a nar­cotic main­te­nance drug. In re­spond­ing to a ques­tion about methadone in the county, Adams said he’s heard suc­cess sto­ries in­volv­ing methadone, but it “seems to not have a very good endgame.”

“I keep hear­ing the term ‘life­time main­te­nance’ thrown around,” Adams said. “I know there’s suc­cess sto­ries with it, but I’d just like to hear that at some point they’re wean­ing off that.”

Adams also noted that this week, CCSO had some­one be­gin the job of heroin co­or­di­na­tor. This in­di­vid­ual will col­lect heroin-re­lated in­for­ma­tion by comb­ing through ar­rest records, call-for-ser­vice re­ports and other law en­force­ment doc­u­ments as well as by speak­ing di­rectly with of­fi­cers and de­tec­tives. He or she will then en­ter that in­for­ma­tion into a fed­eral data­base. This would al­low CCSO to not only track trends but also pur­sue mur­der charges against a drug dealer if they can con­nect him or her to the heroin that caused a fa­tal over­dose.

“Any­thing we can do to fight the drug is­sue that’s go­ing on here, I’m all about it. It’s frus­trat­ing a lot of times be­cause I want to wake up to­mor­row and it be 100 per­cent bet­ter. And that’s not go­ing to hap­pen, I know that’s not go­ing to hap­pen,” he said. “But we’re mak­ing great strides.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Sher­iff Scott Adams speaks dur­ing a town hall held Wed­nes­day night at Haven Com­mu­nity Church in North East.

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