Gamble looks for sec­ond term as Tal­bot County sher­iff

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — Tal­bot County Sher­iff Joe Gamble will seek his sec­ond term Nov. 6, af­ter run­ning un­op­posed for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. Gamble first was elected to the po­si­tion in 2014.

Gamble, a former Mary­land State Trooper for 27 years, has a range of ex­pe­ri­ence in polic­ing. Gamble said he spent 17 years in the statewide homi­cide unit for Mar yland State Po­lice and was the com­man­der of mul­ti­ple drug task forces.

Gamble is a grad­u­ate of Tow­son Uni­ver­sity and has been mar­ried for

30 years. He and his wife Mary have four adult chil­dren.

Gamble has a fam­ily his­tory with law en­force­ment. His fa­ther was em­ployed by the Bal­ti­more City Po­lice De­part­ment for 30 years, he said. Gamble’s brother also works as an of­fi­cer for Bal­ti­more County, he said.

Gamble said he wanted to work in law en­force­ment be­cause he likes peo­ple, wants to help them and couldn’t en­vi­sion him­self work­ing be­hind a desk. As a homi­cide de­tec­tive, Gamble said he was able to help in­di­vid­u­als from all walks of life.

“Help­ing fam­i­lies close that chap­ter by fig­ur­ing out who killed their loved one, why they killed their loved one, mak­ing sure we did ever ything we could,” Gamble said. “I got re­ally tight with a lot of those fam­i­lies be­cause you spend a lot of time with them.”

Gamble said as sher­iff, he has worked with the of­fice to pro­vide ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity out­reach. Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple, an ini­tia­tive spon­sored by the of­fice along with Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools, Tide­wa­ter Ro­tary and the Mid-Shore Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, helps fa­mil­iar­ize the com­mu­nity with of­fi­cers while out­lin­ing the dan­gers of opi­oids, he said.

Part of the out­reach in­cludes screen­ings of “If Only,” a short film pro­duced by Jim Wahlberg that is shown to every Tal­bot County Pub­lic School child grades six through 12, Gamble said.

Gamble said his pas­sion is work­ing with youth in the com­mu­nity. Gamble has coached lacrosse at Eas­ton High School for about 12 years, he said.

“And re­ally, my pas­sion is try­ing to ed­u­cate them about the dan­gers of this opi­oid stuff,” Gamble said.

Since Gamble has taken of­fice, a lot has changed, he said. Gamble started the first school re­source of­fi­cer pro­gram in the county dur­ing his ten­ure as sher­iff, he said. Gamble said Tal­bot County was one of two coun­ties in the state with­out a re­source of­fi­cer.

The of­fice also has helped train teach­ers, busi­ness own­ers and lo­cal churches in ac­tive as­sailant train­ing, he said.

Gamble said the of­fice joined the Tal­bot County Nar­cotics Task Force, which the of­fice has not been a part of for the past decade. He said join­ing the task force is part of a pre­vi­ous ini­tia­tive to unite law en­force­ment agen­cies through­out the county.

“The year be­fore I took over, there were only 54 drug ar­rests by the whole of­fice,” Gamble said. “We’re av­er­ag­ing over 300 now a year, be­cause we’re do­ing what we call proac­tive polic­ing. We’re not just re­spond­ing to calls; we’re ac­tu­ally look­ing for and try­ing to hold peo­ple ac­count­able who are sell­ing drugs in the com­mu­nity.”

Gamble said he has en­joyed his time as sher­iff and has en­joyed the youth of the of­fice. Gamble said when he first was em­ployed as an of­fi­cer, tak­ing ad­vice from ex­pe­ri­enced troop­ers helped him be­come the in­ves­ti­ga­tor he is to­day. He tries to fa­cil­i­tate the same at­mos­phere in his own of­fice, Gamble said.

Gamble said as sher­iff, he is a pub­lic face and there­fore has learned a lot about lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in the county. Speak­ing at over 200 com­mu­nity groups through­out his ten­ure as sher­iff, he said it is im­por­tant to gauge com­mu­nity con­cerns.

“Every time you are out there in the com­mu­nity or in­ter­act­ing with the com­mu­nity, you’re learn­ing the con­cerns and the fears of the peo­ple who live here,” Gamble said. “So much of our job is ed­u­ca­tion, try­ing to ed­u­cate the pub­lic ... I’ve been hum­bled by the out­pour­ing of sup­port for our of­fice and how they’ve em­braced all th­ese ini­tia­tives that we’ve tried in our com­mu­nity.”

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

JOE GAMBLE

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