Editorial and Endorsement: Paying for Police and Getting Old Time Political Patronage

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EDITORIAL — By Ken Rossignol

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

The three counties of Southern Maryland all need to move on with the times and switch the duties of law enforcement to professional police agencies and leave the days of back-scratching, political payoffs and promotions based on old-boy networks in the last century.

While St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron is unopposed this year, and more than one would-be opponent may regret not having filed after recent months have revealed how mismanaged that department really has become, there are spirited contests in Charles and Calvert Counties.

In Charles County this year’s election is all over on June 24th, in the Democratic Primary as Sheriff Rex Coffey attempts to vie for another term to the post he won in 2006.

Coffey is opposed by Troy Berry, a Charles County command officer that Sheriff Coffey demoted from Captain to Lieutenant following Berry conducting internal investigations into a personnel decision of Coffey.

Sheriff Coffey won the post after lining up Fraternal Order of Police support to oust Sheriff Fred Davis. That election also marked the surging voter rolls of Democrats in overtaking Republicans in a big way and likely turning Charles County into a one-party dominated dominion of the Democrats for the foreseeable future. With one-party control usually comes corruption, mismanagement and a wonderland of great news stories, so our readers should eagerly anticipate great content in the future in these pages.

Sheriff Coffey has been a wonderful contributor to our tabloid news approach and for that we thank him, as you just can’t make this stuff up.

Over the years in the old ST. MARY’S TODAY and in recent years in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY, it has been my pleasure to report to our readers the successes of the Charles County Sheriff’s Department under both Sheriff Davis and Sheriff Coffey. There have been many such stories.

This year it has been sad to see Sheriff Coffey be hoisted by his own petard on the basis of his silly decisions to put political hacks to work in top positions in the Charles County Sheriff’s Department. This year, Sheriff Coffey has reaped what he has sown.

When Sheriff Coffey took over the administration of the agency, he defended his decision to make his own choices for top commanders. So be it. A huge amount of law enforcement experience was lost to the citizens of Charles County as more than a dozen top cops retired and were replaced by those without experience and equipped only with a proven supply of political loyalty to Coffey.

Such loyalty was demonstrated by Captain Wide-Load as he blocked a police dash cam aimed towards a questionable action being performed by Sheriff Coffey on a suspect on Rt. 301.

Perhaps Sheriff Coffey’s use of a patrol car to ride around and erect campaign signs wasn’t all that bad. But it wasn’t all that good.  Coffey’s political hack Gibson erected fake websites to confuse voters and more dirty tricks are being played out this week. Such antics are part and parcel of a vigorous and healthy debate about who will hold office.

The administration of street justice by the top cop in the county harkens back to a far different time, one that is best left in the history books.  That one night shows that it is time Sheriff Coffey be retired.

Troy Berry presents a clear choice in this election and has won the support of the FOP for his candidacy.  Berry has also won the support of much of the community. His more than two decades of service as a law officer in Charles County has prepared him well.

Sheriff Coffey should be thanked for his service by the voters and he can answer for his own actions in any future litigation for his actions along the side of Rt. 301.

Now is the time for the voters to consider all that they have learned from presentations in this publication of the candidates’ debate; from other news sources, from the candidate’s websites and particularly from viewing the photo of Captain Wide-load blocking whatever Sheriff Coffey was doing. What was Sheriff Coffey doing? We couldn’t see due to the wide-load rear end of Captain Rackey, who could see what the Sheriff was doing, and believed the better part of his ample rear end was just the valor that was called for to protect his boss.

A vote for Troy Berry for Sheriff of Charles County is recommended to our readers and it is high time that the old days of Sheriff’s making political decisions about law enforcement needs to end.  It is time to move on to professional police departments.

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