The Howard County Police Department provided and excellent response, investigation and timely communication of the tragic shooting at the Columbia Mall this past weekend, and their professional actions should be a lesson to every county in our state ("Columbia mall reopens after deadly shooting Jan. 27).

Despite difficult economic times, County Executive Ken Ulman, the Howard County Council and Police Chief William McMahon have made difficult decisions concerning the safety of citizens in Howard County. While other jurisdictions have furloughed police officers and deputy sheriffs, dismantled training programs, failed to replace aging equipment and gutted wages and benefits, Howard County has continued to recognize government's No. 1 priority must be to protect its citizens.

Over the past several years, Mr. Ulman has increased funding to attract and retain quality men and women to serve in the police department, and he has increased funding for training and equipment. The citizens of Howard County are well served and should be proud that they have elected such dedicated leadership.

As with any investment, you get what you pay for. Howard County has found this adage to be true.

Gary W. McLhinney, Baltimore

The writer is a police labor negotiator.

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.