Former Ocean City Cop Joins Crowded Field For Sheriff

BERLIN – A fourth
candidate has emerged to contest for the Worcester County Sheriff post when
Dave Catrino filed for the Republican nomination for the top law enforcement

With three candidates
already seeking office, Catrino will face Republican Reggie Mason in the
primary in September. The victor in that contest will then face either Carroll
Overholt or Bobby Brittingham, the Democratic candidates. The filing deadline
for the upcoming elections is Tuesday, July 6 at 9 p.m. Incumbent Chuck Martin
is retiring from the post for health reasons.

Catrino, with 19 years
in law enforcement, currently works for the Snow Hill Police Department.

He spent most of his
career with the Ocean City Police Department. His departure was somewhat
controversial and is currently the subject of a lawsuit, but Catrino says the
dispute, over whether he voluntarily left by going home early to take care of
his diabetes, or whether he was fired unlawfully, does not affect his candidacy
for sheriff.

Catrino said he would
bring new energy and ideas to the sheriff’s office, through intelligence-led
policing, stronger drug enforcement and community accountability.

policing relies on current information to direct resources to where they are
needed most, Catrino said, instead of reacting after the fact.

“You’re looking at near
real-time data and you can make decisions based on that data instead of
haphazard road patrolling,” said Catrino. “We have the technology and the
information. We need to utilize it.”

Current information can
dictate scheduling for better use of deputy time, according to Catrino.

“Nobody should have to
wait 20 minutes anywhere for a police officer,” said Catrino.

Of all the crime in
Worcester County, 87 percent is drug related, Catrino said. He said he has a
lot of experience in that field.

“I think I bring a
wealth of knowledge in the drug field which I believe is the greatest threat
and danger in Worcester County,” said Catrino, who worked with the Maryland
State Police Drug Task Force for five years.

The different law
enforcement agencies and task forces in the county need to be able to work
together without stepping on each others’ toes, Catrino said.

Road deputies need more
training in handling drug interdiction and looking beyond the traffic stop,
Catrino feels.

More drug law
enforcement would also benefit sheriff’s office coffers, Catrino believes.

“Millions of dollars of
assets, money and drugs, travel through and into Worcester County every year,”
said Catrino.

Many of those assets can
be seized and then sold, like vehicles, with the proceeds going to the seizing
law enforcement agency. Wicomico County has seen $500,000 in asset forfeiture
and recovered money in the last three years, Catrino said.

“That can go a long way
in tight budgets … I think we can do the same here and even expand it,” he

Catrino would also
increase K-9 units, with one available on the road every shift. Trained K-9
dogs are expensive, but additional dogs would be funded by forfeiture funds.

“The greatest tool in
law enforcement is a dog’s nose,” Catrino said.

Accountability means
accountability to citizens when they make a complaint, Catrino said, which
should be followed through to a resolution, which could be an arrest or another
solution like informal mediation. This could be on criminal issues or
quality-of-life issues.

“It’s 100 percent about
proactive police work. Reactive police work shouldn’t be in anyone’s dictionary
today,” Catrino said.

Catrino would also add
more personnel out on the road.

“Two deputies should not
be working the county at any given time. It should certainly be more than
that,” Catrino said.

One way to do that is to
find civilian employees or even volunteers to process those arrested for a
crime, which can take over three hours for one deputy, taking that officer off
the road and out of circulation.

The sheriff’s department
also has to keep in contact with community leaders, he said.

One idea Catrino would
like to institute would be a citizen posse, of sorts, trained a few times a
year, that could be mobilized to search for a missing child.

The county faces new
issues in the future, he said.

“We have gambling coming
up. We have gangs coming up,” said Catrino.

With a lot of working
years left and young children at home, Catrino said he has a vested interest in
the county and in cleaning up communities blighted by drugs.

“We’re going to have to
have an approach that’s fresh. Status quo isn’t going to be able to handle it,”
Catrino said.