Maryland State Police Superintendent Larry W. Tolliver's streamlining plans contained good news for Carroll -- continuation of the Resident Trooper Program that is the county's main law enforcement service.
Colonel Tolliver said he wants to eliminate state police services that duplicate other law enforcement agencies' work in many Maryland jurisdictions, but not the Resident Trooper Program used by Carroll and six other counties for police services outside city or town limits.
Carroll has no county police force, but a study force recommended last spring that the commissioners begin planning for one -- preparing for the possibility that the Resident Trooper Program could be ended someday.
The commissioners -- reluctant in austere times to commit money for such a purpose if it wasn't absolutely necessary -- asked the county's legislative delegation to push for passage of a bill requiring three-year notice before the state could pull the plug on the resident trooper service.
The county government pays the full cost of the Resident Trooper Program, which began here in 1974 -- including salaries for the 44 troopers here, equipment and vehicles -- while the state police budget covers administrative costs associated with operating the program.
Last month, some new costs were outlined to the commissioners by Maj. Randy Holt, northern regional commander of the state police -- nearly $140,000 to buy 11 replacement patrol cars for vehicles in the fleet that have high mileage.
But even with such bills to pay, the service is easier on Carroll's budget than starting up a county police force.
Colonel Tolliver noted that Carroll's program is "very popular."
"They [county residents] have all the resources of the state police," he said yesterday. "They have the best of both worlds."
The colonel said his agency will concentrate resources on violent crimes, such as carjackings, homicide, robbery, and solving old murders, as well as the traditional traffic enforcement on state roads and interstate highways.
"Enforcement will be directed toward drug enforcement and interdiction, DWI, accident investigation, accident reconstruction and traffic homicide investigation," he said.
Drug and alcohol abuse enforcement and education, criminal intelligence services and crime lab services will be continued in communities not having those capabilities, he said.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer said in a prepared statement yesterday that the new role and mission detailed by Colonel Tolliver "will enable the state police to focus on the effective delivery of targeted services, rather than spreading declining manpower across a broad range of responsibilities."