School safety has become a political hot potato in many arenas, including the Worcester County Sheriff’s race.
From the tone of his Facebook post, Sheriff Reggie Mason, who is in the last year of his law enforcement career, is irritated by any sort of reference that the county is not doing enough to protect local students. Mason has told anyone and everyone that he supports Deputy Matt Crisafulli in the election, which will be decided in the June primary as the four candidates are all Republicans. Along with Crisafulli, the other candidates are current Sheriff’s Commander Michael McDermott, George Truitt and Scott Bernal.
While it’s not uncommon for a retiring incumbent to support a potential successor, it’s usually done so under the radar and without much fanfare. That has not been the tact Mason has taken. In his Facebook rant last week, he made it clear who he supports and who he doesn’t, specifically addressing school security concerns expressed by McDermott in a Facebook video post.
School security has come a long way in Worcester County, but there are major improvements needed. Any rational individual would agree. The problem is it takes a lot of money to provide each school with an armed deputy at all times, and there have been instances when the schools are not protected due to manpower issues. McDermott pointed this out in his video and Mason fired back.
“I hear a certain candidate for Sheriff (Mike M) is running me down about our school coverage and what all he can do to solve the world problems. Yes, with sickness, injuries and one deputy taking a school position in another county because they gave him a vehicle, left us shorthanded. This past year, we did have a shortage of school deputies and yes I take the blame. When I met with Dr. Wilson right after Sandyhook, I ask that a deputy be placed in all schools in our county. Some of my command staff and deputies remembers that (MM) did not want deputies in schools, sure changed his mind now,” Mason wrote in a long Facebook post. “I have tried to stay out of some of this election mess, however the certain few that want to bash me, been there and have had it done to me before, it hurts my family, so I have had about enough. … Not only do we make checks on our deputies in the schools, but our nursery schools are also checked by all of us and our private schools. The longest serving Sheriff of our county, Sheriff Charles T. Martin (16 years)… and I have come out in support of Matt Crisafulli. He is not a know it all, like some think they are. Many promises have been made to a few here about who will be given rank, Matt has not promised anyone I know of, … I have talked with both about not campaigning while working, no complaints about Matt, however not a day goes by about (MM) and I have tried to be nice to him, but now I take all gloves off hurting my family.”
In fairness, this is what McDermott had to say about school security in his Facebook video.
“As your Sheriff, I will not allow our schools to go unprotected in Worcester County. The County Commissioners are doing their part and you can count on me to do mine. Gaps in coverage will not be acceptable. We must consider our security responsibilities to our private schools also, like Worcester Prep or Most Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “We must ensure that our school-assigned deputies are prepared for their mission and that they receive regular training to keep them on point. To that end, I will increase the firearms training they currently receive and I will expand the less than lethal technology they have available. They must have options to address all the multi-faceted problems that they face … My office will have a zero-tolerance policy for any statements or actions which may be threatening in nature and we will always air on the side of caution.”
Although the visual concerns about wind turbines have merit, it’s clear to those lawmakers outside of Ocean City it’s simply not a big deal.
That was certainly confirmed after hearing from members of the House Economic Matters Committee on a bill that would have required the wind turbines be far enough offshore they will never be visible from shore. The committee voted 14-5 to kill the bill with only the bill’s sponsors supporting it. The bill was an uphill fight from the start, but committee members were clearly not interested.
Delegate Ben Kramer of Montgomery County went so far as to ridicule the town’s position in a way, saying, “I think we have a different perspective on what the outcome would be should they be visible. I think at the end of the day, they will not be, which I think would be a little disappointing because I think they would be fascinating. During the summer months, there would be virtually no visibility of the turbines whatsoever. The BOEM report indicated the visibility during the summer months is radically different from the dead of winter. Your rendering is from the dead of winter and I’m not sure it gives this committee a clear indication as to what the view would be at 17 miles.”
Delegate Charles Barkley, also of Montgomery, was a member of the committee that approved the wind farm legislation in 2013.
“I don’t remember anyone from Ocean City coming and raising any concerns,” he said. “Nobody was here. Now, five years later we’re getting to the implementation and all of the sudden Ocean City says we don’t want it.”
Based on the comments from the committee members, I doubt the town’s opposition would have even mattered back then.