From Jeffrey R. Gahler:
In a July 16th news article posted on the DaggerPress concerning Sheriff Bane’s summer crime initiative and poorly attended community meeting, I was disappointed to see that the Sheriff was again presenting information that was not factual and was intentionally misleading those in attendance. As he has decided to once again resort to such deceptive information and scare tactics to gain public support, I can only assume these statements are made intentionally and not simply incorrect because he does not understand standardized law enforcement practices.
According to the article, in response to a question from a member of the community concerning emergency response times to events in progress, Sheriff Bane, reverted again to providing erroneous information concerning the Sheriff’s Office’s staffing levels. As reported in the article, “Bane said that he wanted more officers on patrol to cut response times, but his staffing levels at 0.8 per 1,000 in population were low compared to the state and national average of 2.7.”
Data extracted directly from the 2011 Uniform Crime Report reveals Harford County’s population at 247,147 (page 96) and that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office reports 287 sworn law enforcement deputies, Maryland State Police reports 59 troopers assigned to Harford County, Havre de Grace Police Department reports 35 police officers, Bel Air Police Department reports 30 police officers, and the Aberdeen Police Department reports 39 police officers. The data presented above is self-reported by each agency and can be found on page 201 of the Report. Using basic math, the actual ratio of officers to citizens is shown to be 1.8 officers per 1000 Harford County citizens (page 195). All of this information has been updated since my letter on this topic last year.
Even when the population of the three incorporated municipalities is not included in the County’s total population, and only the Deputy Sheriffs and State Troopers who serve Harford County are included in the calculation, the ratio is roughly 1.6 officers per 1000 Harford County citizens. To further the review into officer staffing in the County, utilizing only the number of Deputy Sheriffs in the equation, the ratio is roughly 1.2 officers per 1000 Harford County citizens.
Sheriff Bane believes all answers are to be found in increased staffing and uses incorrect information to support his cry. As I have documented in the past, even the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the leader in police policy and procedures, clearly states that officer to citizen ratio should not be used to determine staffing needs.
Sheriff Bane was also credited in the article for stating “Bane also defended his record overall, saying that Harford County has the second lowest crime rate out of 24 jurisdictions in the state despite a flat budget for the past six years.” Basic examinations of public records supporting Harford County’s Budget for the past six years reveal that the Sheriff’s Budget has been in fact increased from $62.6 million (FY2008) to $68.9 million (FY2014). Jesse Bane’s “flat budget” is actually a nearly $6,300,000 increase or an overall increase of 10%. Other time periods can be examined and discussed should I be examining the incorrect six year period, but if we go back one more fiscal year, we must add in another $12,000,000 that the budget was increased in FY2007. I am not saying that this increase may not have been necessary or even that it would have been less under my watch, but I am saying that it is not “flat”.
Sheriff Bane also told the group called together in response to surging crime in their neighborhoods that Harford County has the second lowest crime rate in the state currently. Was that, if it were to be true, necessary to tell people who are afraid to live in their neighborhood and came together to find out what the Sheriff was going to do about their fears? The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program used by Sheriff Bane to compile his crime numbers is prepared by information provided by Sheriff Bane and all other police agencies in Maryland. With greater pressure being placed on crime reduction, the UCR program has been stressed by questions of accuracy. Large and small agencies have been found to have manipulated their UCR returns. I have easily demonstrated time and time again how Sheriff Bane manipulates and interprets data to show what he wants the way he wants. Based on this information, I do not share the same glee for the Sheriff’s crime control policies and successes and I know the majority of the good citizens of Harford County do not feel it either.
In response to the letters I have written concerning the Sheriff’s election, I have been asked if it is possible to campaign on what I would do as Sheriff and not be so critical of Sheriff Bane. The above budget example gives a clear picture of why that is not possible. How do I have an impact with a commitment to be fiscally responsible with tax payer dollars against a candidate who is willing to stand in front of a group and say he is not spending at all (flat budget), even though it is not true. In order for voters to understand how I can correct the numerous issues within the Sheriff’s Office, they must know that these issues exist and they are obviously not going to hear it from the current Sheriff.