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Drug and Violence Awareness Expo returns for fifth year at Carroll County Ag Center Thursday

Deputy Tim Chrismer with the Carroll County Sheriffs Office demonstrates a police cruiser for students attending the Drug and Violence Expo at the Carroll County at the Agricultural Center in Westminster in 2015. The event returns for its fifth year on Thursday at the Ag Center.
Deputy Tim Chrismer with the Carroll County Sheriffs Office demonstrates a police cruiser for students attending the Drug and Violence Expo at the Carroll County at the Agricultural Center in Westminster in 2015. The event returns for its fifth year on Thursday at the Ag Center. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The Drug and Violence Awareness Expo returns Thursday for a fifth year at the Carroll County Agriculture Center’s Shipley Arena, and Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will be a featured speaker.

Sponsored and organized by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, the free event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature speakers and demonstrations around the risks and dangers of drug use, violence and crime, as well as connecting people to resources to help if they are struggling with, say, substance use disorder.

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“This year we are very pleased to welcome Lt. Gov. Rutherford, who speak at 10 a.m. and will spend an hour with us and say a few words about what the administration is doing,” said Joe Tabeling, chairman of the Business Education Committee at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “Gov. Hogan will not be able to attend, but Glenn Fuetson, executive director of Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention will be there at 1 p.m. to speak on behalf of the governor.”

Also speaking will be Tammy Lofink, of Rising Above Addiction, Beth Schmidt of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocate and motivational speaker Melanie Anderson, among others, according to Tabeling.

There will also be a drunk driving simulator, police vehicles, police dog demonstrations and other seminars and vendors on hand providing a wide range of information, according to Tabeling, including The Shepherd’s Staff, the Carroll County Mediation Center, the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The FBI is going to be at the event,” he said. “The Civil Air Patrol will be there.”

The Carroll County Health Department will be sponsoring two accredited courses for free to those who need health classes for their jobs, according to a chamber of commerce media release on the expo.

Also attending, as they have every year, will be a large number of Carroll County Public Schools students, according to Tabeling.

We will have eighth grade students and the high school students who are taking health classes who will be participating,” he said. “We are in discussions with other school systems, private school systems to participate, but because of scheduling conflicts they weren’t able to participate this year, but will next year.”

Getting a message of prevention out to young people, after all, has been one of the main goals behind the Expo, and Tabeling said he and the Chamber are pleased with how it has gone these past four years.

We are seeing the benefits of it. We received word from the schools that they have not seen an increase in any kind of bullying or drug issues or things that nature,” he said. “The most important thing is that we are helping people.”

And word has gotten out, Tabeling said, noting he has been speaking with other jurisdictions, not just other Maryland counties, but places along the Atlantic coast, where people are interested in duplicating what Carroll County has achieved in the expo.

And as he has began speaking more with other jurisdictions about duplicating what Carroll County has accomplished with the Expo, Tabeling said he has become ever more grateful to everyone who has made it possible to put this event on for five years running.

“I come back with the thought of how grateful I am we started this in Carroll County,” he said. “Because the cooperation from all of the departments, the Health Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, the school system, and especially the chamber of commerce, all working together without any kind of hidden agenda.”

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