Cameron briefs senior citizens on crime prevention
Garvey center in Leonardtown hosts gathering
St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron did most of the talking Friday during a “Coffee with the Sheriff” gathering at a senior activity center in Leonardtown, but the close to a dozen attendees were attentive and had a few observations of their own.
From departmental issues including recruitment to new developments in addressing opioid addiction, the county’s chief elected law officer, elected last month to his fourth (and what he has said would be his final) term, said change consistently remains at the core of his expectations.
“Every term has been radically different from another,” the sheriff said. “Nothing stays the same.”
The number of unfilled positions for deputies at the agency has been reduced from 24 to seven, he said, but some of the 13 new hires now attending a regional police academy might not stay with the force once they’re on the job, based on prior experience.
“They confront their mortality. It’s a dangerous job,” Cameron (R) said. “When you live it, it’s a little bit different.”
The 174 drug overdose calls thus far in St. Mary’s this year have included 25 overdose fatalities, with about a half-dozen more deaths still being investigated, the sheriff said, prompt- ing questions moments later about deputies administering drugs to revive overdose victims, the uncertainty about what drug users are ingesting, and controls over the recent approval and dispensing of medical marijuana.
Cameron said the proprietors of a medical marijuana dispensary in northern St. Mary’s agreed to his preference of making an unannounced vis- it, and that its unique product, “not the marijuana that we see on the street,” has been handled properly.
“There has not been a corruption of a shipment or delivery,” the sheriff said. “The security is unbelievable. The accounting and oversight of this is tremendous.”
Amid the opioid crisis, he said, deputies are trying to get people with severe addiction issues directly into inpatient rehabilitative treatment, as opposed to briefly incarcerating them with no control over what happens after their release.
“I’m the largest provider of mental health services in St. Mary’s County, and it shouldn’t be that way,” Cameron said.
Early during the meeting at the Garvey Senior Activity Center, sponsored by the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging and Human Services and Triad/SALT Council, the sheriff said he counted himself among the people receiving scam phone calls, involving culprits who successfully pose as calling from the numbers of innocent people and institutions.
“They spoofed [the phone number of] the police chief in Montgomery County,” the sheriff said.
Paul Kelley, who at one point lamented the costs from untreated drug offenders being jailed on new charges, later said of Cameron’s briefing, “It helps the community understand what the sheriff is trying to accomplish. I think it’s very important.”
Barbara Dinsenbacher of Callaway chats with St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) after his remarks during last Friday’s “Coffee with the Sheriff” meeting at the Garvey Senior Activity Center in Leonardtown.