By: Alex Hevesy, Contributing Writer
On Sept. 3, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler and members of his senior command staff visited Towson University’s Northeastern Maryland facility in Bel Air.
They met with approximately 40 students, faculty and staff on the top floor of Towson’s newest campus.
Sheriff Gahler was elected Sheriff of Harford County after 28 years of service in the State Police. With recent issues like the Ferguson and Baltimore riots freshly in the media, Sheriff Gahler said that Harford County is dedicated to hiring officers that reflect the demographics of the community, providing ongoing training and the possible implementation of body cameras.
He discussed various career opportunities in the area of law enforcement, which were of great interest to many of the criminal justice majors in attendance.
The Sheriff indicated that in today’s 21st century news cycle, people are often quick to judge law enforcement officers based on short video clips that do not always show the full story. He then went on to talk about the department’s social media accounts which are very effective in informing the community of issues and concerns.
The sheriff also talked about the important issue of active shooters in schools. He endorsed the ADD approach: “Avoid, Deny, Defend” in dealing with potentially violent situations, and discussed Harford County’s mission to prepare students and staff in the schools for such events as well as emergency response planning.
In 2015 alone, Harford County has had 112 overdoses and 18 deaths due to heroin use across all demographics. Gahler that law enforcement is not the whole solution to the issue and that they can’t “arrest the problem away.”
The Harford County Sheriff Department’s main priority is getting those who are addicted into treatment. They will look to arrest the dealers, not the victims of addiction.
Sheriff Gahler and his officers said that they hope to strengthen efforts to help the community through prevention and support, and lower the number of lives lost.