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Warden George Hardinger retires after 22 years with Carroll County Detention Center

Warden George Hardinger shows a former office space that is currently being used to house up to five female inmates at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster Friday, Aug. 21.
Warden George Hardinger shows a former office space that is currently being used to house up to five female inmates at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster Friday, Aug. 21. (Carroll County Times file)

After about 22 years with the Carroll County Detention Center, Warden George Hardinger is retiring, effective next Wednesday.

“I want to say thank you to the outstanding staff at the detention center,” Hardinger said Thursday. “There are very unique things about Carroll County … They work well together.”

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Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees has named Major Dennis Strine as Hardinger’s replacement.

Hardinger was first appointed as warden in August 1999 by Sheriff Ken Tregoning and was reappointed by DeWees in December 2014, according to a county news release.

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Prior to working in Carroll County, he was the director of planning and capital construction at the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminology from the University of Maryland.

He said there is a “nice balance” between caring about the inmates and dealing with issues.

“There is a good culture here … it’s a good model” for other detention centers in the state.

Hardinger mentioned correctional facilities in many ways can be their own worst enemy but “not here.”

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The warden was appointed not only to manage the day-to-day operations, but also to help drive the Carroll County Detention Center in new directions, including the formation of central booking and a pretrial release program. In 2014, Hardinger received the Maryland Correctional Administrators Association “Dewitt” Award for outstanding correctional professionals.

Moving forward, Hardinger says he supported the decision to tap Strine as the next warden.

“I know him well,” he said. “There is no doubt people will work to continue to improve things and Strine is committed to doing that.”

Strine began his career at the Carroll County Detention Center as a correctional Ddeputy in September 1997 and has worked his way up through the ranks to his current position as major overseeing the Support Services Division. He is a 1984 graduate of Francis Scott Key High School and holds Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southwest University in Louisiana.

During his retirement, Hardinger said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, getting his farm up and running again and working with his grandson on a new business aiming to design unique playground equipment from recycled materials that is affordable and tailored for even those with disabilities.

Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said during a Thursday meeting he had the opportunity to bid the “long-term servant in our community” farewell at an event hosted by the sheriff’s office to celebrate the retirement.

“I was able to provide him with a county proclamation and a Challenge Coin,” he said. “I just wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”

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