Incumbent, deputy facing off in sheriff’s race
Veteran of office looks to take control Bounds seeks third term as Caroline’s top cop
DENTON — Steven Biddle, a 23-year veteran of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, is seeking election to lead it, challenging Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds in the Nov. 6 general election.
Biddle, a lifelong resident of Greensboro and the sheriff’s office’s most senior deputy, said it has always been his goal to one day be sheriff.
He is pursuing that goal now in the hopes that a change of leadership can restore the department to what he said it once was.
“We are down six or seven deputies just over the last year,” Biddle said. “It’s hard on the deputies who are still here. We have do something to retain deputies.
“The pay is part of it, but it’s time for a change. Someone needs to step up and make the department the way it used to be. It used to be the place to be, and it’s not that way anymore.”
Biddle, a 1986 graduate of North Caroline High School, began his law enforcement career in October 1993 with Greensboro’s town force.
He said he approached the town’s then-police chief about joining, and the next thing he knew, he had been sworn in and issued a badge, car and gun — before he had even been to the police academy.
“They threw me to the wolves,” said. “I had to learn very quickly.”
He went to the academy in January 1994, graduating six months later. After another year with the Greensboro department, Biddle was hired in 1995 by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.
Biddle was a road deputy until 2002, when he began a 12-year stint working undercover on the narcotics task force.
“It was wild — a different world,” Biddle said.
Biddle said he loved the work, writing and executing search and seizure warrants, arresting offenders and testifying in court as a narcotics expert, in Caroline and Dorchester counties.
He then returned to road patrol until just recently, when he was reassigned to security in the Caroline County Circuit Courthouse.
It felt like the right time to run for sheriff, he said.
“I’m not a politician. I’m a police officer, and I always have been,” Biddle said. “Politics are new to me, and I’ve learned it can be nasty at times.”
Biddle said his family and fellow deputies are supportive of his run for sheriff.
“I’m a deputy, not retired from the state police,” Biddle said. “Who better to run a sheriff’s office?”
Biddle said understaffing has made the sheriff’s office a reactive police force, rather than a proactive one.
“Right now, we just go call to Biddle call,” Biddle said.
He would like to form a warrant squad, solely to serve warrants and summonses, which would free up time for other deputies.
“Then those deputies can be more proactive, making traffic stops, stopping by schools, talking to people,” Biddle said.
He praised the school resource officer program, but said more input on how to protect schools should come from the teachers inside them.
“We all neglect to ask the teachers, the ones who know the kids, what do they think,” Biddle said.
Biddle said getting a handle on the opioid epidemic is also a priority.
“In my 12 years in narcotics, I ver y rarely saw heroin,” Biddle said. “But now it touches everyone. The majority of the crimes in this county are drug-related.”
He said education and treatment, not time, will do more good.
“I would work with all entities to help addicts,” Biddle said. “A lot of good people are affected. We didn’t have the support (resources) before we do now.
“If we can stop people from using, it will decrease crime. Crime won’t ever go away completely, but anything is a help.”
Biddle said he would also like to initiate more collaboration between town, county and state police.
“Working as a he said.
The first step, however, would be returning the sheriff’s office to fully staffed, with the kind of passionate deputies who inspire others to also step up, Biddle said.
“It’s going to be like it used to be, a lot of go-getters working together,” Biddle said. unit only benefits jail everyone,”
DENTON — Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds is seeking a third term in office in this year’s election.
Bounds, a Republican, has served as Caroline County’s sheriff since 2010. He ran unopposed in June’s primary election and faces Democratic challenger Steven Biddle in the general election.
He has been endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan and the Bay Area Association of Realtors.
“I’ve been honored to work with the men and women of the sheriff’s office, and I hope to serve another four years with them,” Bounds said. “We have accomplished much, but there are still challenges on the horizon.”
Bounds retired as a lieutenant from the state police in
2008. During his 28 years with the state police, he served in areas throughout Maryland, with assignments in patrol, criminal investigation, aviation, and criminal and drug enforcement.
When he retired, he was commander of the Drug Enforcement Division’s Eastern Region, responsible for state police, allied and civilian drug task forces in eight Eastern Shore counties.
After two years as assistant director of the Caroline County Department of Emergency Services’ Communication Division, in 2010, Bounds successfully ran for his first term as Caroline County sheriff. In
2014, he won a second term. Bounds said when he first interviewed with the state police nearly 40 years ago, he said he wanted to go into law enforcement because he wanted to help people.
“That’s still true today,” Bounds said. “My job revolves around helping people.”
Bounds said he is proud of many of the sheriff’s office’s achievements during his first two terms.
Working with the Caroline County commissioners, the office has added five more deputy positions in the past three budget cycles, and in the most recent budget, employees got their first step raise in 11 years, more important than ever to retain good officers.
Bounds said he is working on a four-year plan to fully catch up on the pay scale, which he plans to present soon to the commissioners.
A new training center was built at the site of a former landfill, Bounds said, with a range for annual qualifications and a classroom.
The intern program has trained 13 students from both county high schools and Chesapeake College, Bounds said, the majority of which have gone on to pursue successful careers in law enforcement or related fields. One of those interns, Amber Thambert, recently was promoted to detective in the sheriff’s office.
Bounds said school safety is and will continue to be a top priority. School resource officers are assigned to every secondary school and the only elementary school in the county in a town without its own police force.
For their work together on the school resource officer program, Bounds and Caroline County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Milton Nagel recently received the School Safety Superintendent and Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award from the Maryland Center for School Safety.
“School safety enhancement is paramount and will continue to be going forward,” Bounds said.
Also among the top priorities is addressing the addiction epidemic.
“The opioid crisis is like nothing we’ve seen before,” Bounds said. “We cannot just arrest our way out.”
Bounds said he will continue to take a comprehensive approach, working with prevention, treatment and mental health providers, and traveling extensively to talk to other organizations, schools and churches to build awareness.
“We’ve worked really hard to try to get the word out there,” Bounds said, noting the success of the recent inaugural Caroline Goes Purple effort in September.
The sheriff’s office also has expanded its criminal investigation division, implemented a fire police program and added three more K-9 officers to its ranks, including two drug-detecting dogs and a bloodhound, thanks to various grants.
In his first nearly eight years in office, Bounds has also overseen the rebuilding of the office’s fleet of vehicles and added cameras to the cars, to gather more evidence during traffic stops.
The sheriff’s office also has an active presence online to further connect to the community, regularly updating its social media pages and implementing a feature to allow the public to search crime records by area.
All of this, Bounds said, was accomplished while maintaining a flat $3.8 million per year budget. opioid