The numbers speak volumes: One-third of more than 132,000 calls to the Harford County Sheriff's Office for service last year came from Edgewood and Joppa.
That's one key reason Harford officials want to establish a new sheriff's office precinct in Edgewood.
The new precinct, if approved by the County Council, would afford plenty of space to run a 24-hour operation where prisoners would be processed, suspected drunken drivers tested, and deputies could keep closer tabs on drug trafficking, Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows said.
County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann said Friday that she will ask the County Council Tuesday night to approve $470,000 to purchase and renovate a vacant 7-Eleven at 1010 Gateway Drive.
"The Gateway Drive location is ideal for quick response, about 300 feet off Route 40 and in the heart of Edgewood," Sheriff Meadows said. "It takes 20 minutes for a deputy to drive to headquarters in Bel Air. That's 20 minutes -- or 40 minutes round trip -- lost in drive time every time a deputy has to make that trip."
The sheriff, who grew up in Edgewood, believes a precinct house in the neighborhood would help run drug dealers and other criminals out of the county.
Sheriff Meadows offered a message to criminals in Edgewood: "We were here first. Drug dealers have three options: Stop dealing, get out of Harford County or stay and continue selling drugs.
"If they stay, we promise we will choose where they stay on Rock Spring Avenue at the Harford County Detention Center. We'll hold them there until we can move them to the state penitentiary."
Sheriff Meadows said other locations were considered for the new precinct, but the Gateway Drive site offered the best value.
Edgewood community leaders Bill Kinne, director of Citizens On Patrol in Edgewood (COPE), and John Myrick, president of Neighbors Involved in the Community of Edgewood (NICE), said they'd welcome the new precinct.
They also applauded the new community policing programs this year that included the distribution of crime prevention literature, the addition of sheriff's deputies walking beats and a more efficient deployment of deputies.
Those efforts have already led to a drop in calls from residents in Edgewater and Joppa, said a sheriff's office spokesman.
Shooting suspect's bond raised
The bond for Jermaine Anthony Bollin -- accused of injuring two deputies Tuesday night while aiming a firearm at the occupants of a car parked next to the officers -- has been doubled to $2 million.
Mr. Bolling, 26, of the 1800 block of Brookside Drive is charged with attempted murder.
The deputies suffered minor injuries in the incident in the 800 block of Fisherman Lane, police said.