Director of public safety office steps down

The head of Carroll County's Office of Public Safety, who received a "no confidence" vote from volunteer firefighters two years ago, has resigned for health reasons.

After working in the office for 21 years, Howard S. "Buddy" Redman Jr. said he wants somebody else to be in charge. The administrator - who serves as public safety director - has been on extended medical leave since mid-April. His resignation is effective Tuesday.


"My health is still improving, but with the stress of the job it was time to move on and take on something a little less stressful," said Redman, reached at his Westminster home yesterday.

Redman said he's still five years from retirement and wants to continue working.


"I've spent about 28 years in the 911 business," said Redman, 56. "It's hard to turn around and walk away."

Redman lists among his accomplishments updating the 911 technology at the county's communications center. The update included improvements in the paging and wireless global positioning systems.

"He's been here quite some time and been at the helm during quite a few improvements both to [the] firemen's training center and 911 communications," said Steven Powell, the county's chief of staff. "He was earnest in his efforts and very dedicated to public safety in Carroll."

He also credits Redman with keeping a cool head through natural disasters, such as Tropical Storm Isabel, which hit the state last fall.

But delays in implementing upgrades in the 800 megahertz radio system - which Redman says is now vastly improved - and in two other systems fostered tension with the county's volunteer firefighters.

Two years ago, Redman received symbolic "no confidence" votes from the three associations that at the time represented Carroll's volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel.

Firefighters complained about a lack of communication and coordination with the Office of Public Safety. They also expressed frustration and concern over 911 dispatcher errors and blamed the public safety office for the lack of progress on two major projects.

After more than six years of discussion, ground has yet to be broken on a Lineboro communications tower that is expected to solve the problem of blocked signals in low-lying areas, though Redman said it is only one hurdle away.


The other project - a mapping system - is nearing completion, but is four years over deadline. Firefighters are awaiting a final version of the computerized system, which is designed to give dispatchers and firefighters the most accurate and updated directions.

"I'm sorry it came to his resignation and I wish him the best in his future endeavors, but things had gotten that bad and something had to be done," said Jeffrey A. Alexander, who was president of the Carroll County Fire Chiefs Association at the time of the vote. "We're still dealing with things not occurring quite as fast as we'd like, but we are making progress."

Alexander credits the county commissioners with improving communications with firefighters, which has led to a better relationship.

Hard feelings are also a thing of the past with the new Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, which represents firefighters and paramedics.

"We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the county," said the association's current president, Marianne Warehime.

Redman joined Carroll's public safety office in 1983 after seven years heading the same office in Kent County. Before that, the Eastern Shore native spent a decade as the morning announcer and chief engineer at radio station WCTR-AM in Chestertown.