In an unofficial start to the fall campaign, both candidates for Carroll sheriff introduced their platforms in general terms yesterday to a group of county business people.
Incumbent Republican Sheriff John H. Brown, who is seeking his second term, told the 100 or so people gathered for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast that he would continue to operate the 90-member department as he has since 1990.
"I'm extremely proud of what we've done in there these last four years," he said.
His Democratic opponent, state police First Lt. Kenneth L. Tregoning, said he would make changes in the department's management and shift some of its priorities, but he offered no details.
"I want to enhance those services for your benefit and to protect your best interests. There are things I want to change in the sheriff's department, but this forum is not the proper place to get into that," said the Union Bridge Democrat.
The race promises to be one of contrasts, much as it was four years ago. County political observers have predicted a tight race between the incumbent and Lieutenant Tregoning, who in 1989-92 was commander of the Maryland State Police barracks in Westminster.
In 1990, Sheriff Brown defeated two-term Democratic Sheriff Grover N. Sensabaugh by fewer than 300 votes.
Sheriff Brown campaigned on a platform of fiscal austerity and accountability. Mr. Sensabaugh favored turning the sheriff's department into a county police force.
Yesterday, both candidates told of their law enforcement experience.
Lieutenant Tregoning, a 26-year veteran of the state police, said his 19 years of supervisory experience made him "qualified to be sheriff." He is commander of the Golden Ring barracks in eastern Baltimore County. He has said previously that he would retire from the state police if he wins the election.
Referring to Sheriff Brown's campaign slogan, "Don't reinvent the wheel at the taxpayers' expense," the lieutenant said, "It's not my intent to re-invent the wheel. I intend to fix that wheel, because I think it is broken in some places."
Sheriff Brown charged early in the campaign that Lieutenant Tregoning favors creating a county police force, a move the Democrat adamantly says he will not make. Yesterday, the incumbent said he has turned almost $500,000 back to county taxpayers during his term, and that he has increased the efficiency of his deputies.
He said he has reduced the backlog of unserved warrants and court papers, and he has helped boost morale within the department.
"I intend to stick to the mandated duties of the sheriff's office, and not turn it into a county police force," he said.