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July 29, 2019

The Biggest News Not Covered

Jennifer Baker

The greatest untold story last week happened at the weekly county council meeting when M. C. Keegin-Ayer, the president, read aloud a statement from the county attorney concerning the Frederick County 287(g) program.


RISE members gathered in protest at the meeting and were surprised to learn the limited role the County Council has regarding the 287(g) program.














The crowd of RISE members were shocked to hear of this opinion from the county attorney and proceeded to still inquire – at times angrily – about the limited role the County Council plays in the 287(g) program.


Members of the Frederick County Republican Club and Frederick County Conservative Club were on hand to speak in support of the 287(g) program. Absent, though, were members of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, although a letter of support of the 287(g) program was released by them on July 8th.


RISE members, upon learning of the county position, continued to direct questions at the council with the County Council President Keegan-Ayer finally stopping a speaker’s time to answer a key question.


A RISE member asked how to change the county charter to allow the county council to have oversight over the Sheriff’s Department as other counties, such as Montgomery County.


During the pause in time requested by MS. Keegan-Ayer, RISE members were instructed on how the county charter could be changed in the future to bring the Sheriff’s Department under direct supervision of the county executive. The sheriff position would change from an elected position accountable to voters to a selection made by the County Executive.


Let us hope any such effort is defeated, and our Sheriff can remain an elected official accountable to the voters of Frederick County.


[Editor’s Note: The Frederick County Charter cannot be amended to downgrade the position of county sheriff to an appointed one under the county executive. The position is established in the Maryland Constitution. A way around it would be for the county to establish its own county police force, as in Montgomery County. In that case the sheriff would still be in charge of security at the county courthouse and process serving. This would not necessarily prevent the sheriff from entering into the ICE 287(g) program. Back in the mid-1980s an effort was made to create a county police force, but it was defeated in a 3-2 vote of the county commissioners.]

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