From Jeffrey R. Gahler:
Dear Harford County Residents,
For some time I have been aware that a number of high ranking members of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office were considering retirement. On Monday, April 14, 2014, both Colonel Greg Carlevaro and Major Dale Stonesifer announced their separations from the Sheriff’s Office effective July 1, 2014. Both Colonel Carlevaro and Major Stonesifer have served the residents of Harford County for many years and I wish both men well in their future endeavors.
The announcement of both retirements included information from the Sheriff’s Office that the process of hiring a warden to oversee the embattled Detention Center in ongoing and made reference to the fact that the next warden may be a “civilian.” As I have noted in previous published comments related to the management of the Harford County Detention Center, Sheriff Bane has utterly and completely failed the men and women who work there, the citizens and those who are or have been incarcerated in the facility and their families. There have been a total of nine in custody deaths under the current Sheriff’s watch, a severe shortage of staffing and a less than aggressive effort to appoint an effective, qualified, and proven leader to address the issues haunting the Detention Center.
In March 21, 2012, after six months with no designated qualified leader for the Detention Center, Sheriff Bane committed to the citizens of this county that he would hire a new Warden (DaggerPress – March 21, 2012). Ironically, this came three days after he publically announced he was not going to fill the Warden position and would allow the Chief Deputy to assume the role. In a letter following the eighth death in the Detention Center, written in November 2012, I challenged Sheriff Bane to hire a qualified warden as this would be a vital first step in addressing the host of issues plaguing the Detention Center. Sheriff Bane’s ongoing search has now entered its 25th month and the issues at the facility are worse than ever. A correctional professional, well versed in all aspects of corrections and rehabilitation, is what is desperately needed to right the leadership wrongs at the Detention Center.
What is more concerning to the men and women who serve as members of the Detention Center staff is not just that Sheriff Bane has failed to carry out this simple task, but even more alarming is that now they are under the impression the Sheriff plans to appoint an individual with no corrections experience for what would be a purely political purpose. It is my hope that this belief is without merit as the men and women assigned to the Detention Center deserve someone recognized in the field of corrections, with the experience and qualifications to be Warden. In the aforementioned article, Sheriff Bane committed, “to hire a person with an extensive background in corrections with experience in re-entry and mental health issues in a correctional setting.” The person the facility staff believe to be Sheriff Bane’s choice meets none of the requirements he adamantly described for the position.
To be clear, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the job being done by the deputies assigned to the Detention Center and the professional civilian staff. After being clearly neglected by Sheriff Bane during his years in office, it is even more irresponsible of him to use these dedicated employees and their lives as his political folly. Sheriff Bane has turned a blind eye as nine inmates have lost their lives at the jail, he has turned a blind eye to the staffing issues that plague the facility and he has turned a blind eye during his 25 month search for a warden.
I have made it a cornerstone of my campaign that one of my first acts will be to appoint an experienced, exceptionally qualified and nationally recognized individual to serve as Warden of the Harford County Detention Center. This new Warden will immediately be committed to addressing the staffing issues that have kept the majority of the 2010 expansion, paid for with taxpayer dollars, closed for use. I believe it is telling that my choice for this position will have the qualifications the incumbent has set and, if the fears of the Detention Center Staff are correct, his choice will have none.
Jeffrey R. Gahler
2014 Republican Candidate for Harford County Sheriff