From Jeffrey R. Gahler:
Recently, I announced my candidacy for the Office of Sheriff in 2014. Many reasons have led to this decision and over the course of the next two years it will become obvious that the current Sheriff has failed to maintain the level of commitment and integrity to remain in office. Sheriff Bane has held strong a course of conduct that includes political posturing and self serving law enforcement leadership. I believe our families and communities come first, without exception.
A couple of months ago, I thought it necessary to highlight inaccurate information being conveyed by Sheriff Bane in an apparent effort to scare Harford County citizens into supporting a larger staff and significantly increased budget for his office without demonstrating such need based on measurable data driven demands for law enforcement services. Police to citizen ratios, even if accurately presented, are not accepted by national police organizations as an effective measure of law enforcement needs and should not have been presented without crime, collision and 911-based data (the whole story) by Sheriff Bane as a justification of need.
Today, I am troubled as I read and listen to Sheriff Bane announce the effort he has finally decided to make concerning the rate at which people are being seriously injured and killed on Harford County roadways. Troubled:
• that the current Sheriff failed to take notice and act on this issue during his first term.
• that when in 2008 I made the rate of fatal accidents and highway safety a focal point of my 2010 campaign platform, the current Sheriff failed to take any action.
• that after numerous community forums and the distribution of nearly 100,000 pieces of campaign materials identifying this issue on my platform for a safer Harford County, the Sheriff failed to act and the deaths and serious injuries on our roadways continued at alarming rates.
• that it took this initiative proposed not by the Sheriff, Harford County’s chief law enforcement officer, but rather by the local State Police Commander for the Sheriff to finally take notice.
It is understood that not all harm to our families and friends can be averted, but I would rather stand before you knowing that more were saved by well crafted and relentless efforts than were lost due to inaction or delayed effort or attention. In a recent news story, Sheriff Bane indicates that the fatality rate is “increasing in dramatic proportions to the point that it’s time Harford County looks at this issue as seriously as it looks at crime” (Aegis. June 21, 2012). The regrettable facts are that this is an issue that always deserved the same serious level of attention from law enforcement and that Sheriff Bane is nearly four years late in this realization and response. I applaud the local state police commander for his leadership and vision that brought the formation of this Task Force and hope these efforts result in accident reductions and lives saved.
Any loss of life is tragic. These lost tragically in traffic accidents are brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives and sadly, our children. Many of these deaths could have been prevented or avoided. Law enforcement is duty bound to act quickly, responsibly and relentlessly to protect the community. An issue recognized is an issue half addressed. Sheriff Bane had the issue of serious injury and fatal collisions occurring in Harford County clearly pointed out to him and yet he failed to act timely or aggressively in our best interest.
Jeffrey R. Gahler
2014 Republican Candidate for Sheriff