Bickel Running For Sheriff

He ran two other times, but was defeated by the incumbent.


Frederick, Md (KM). Democratic candidate Karl Bickel is running again for Frederick County Sheriff. In his statement announcing his candidacy, Bickel says more needs to be done to fight the opioid epidemic. “In the last five years, we’ve have 174 deaths as a result of the opioid overdoses,” he says. “This past January, we’ve had ten deaths, like an opioid overdose death every three days.”

“We have people that are doing good things, particularly the advocacy support groups and some of the governmental agencies. But they’re working in silos They’re not working together. There’s not the collaboration that’s needed in order to move ahead in addressing the problem and turning thing around,” says Bickel.

If elected, Bickel says he will bring together those in law enforcement, non-governemtal agencies, the Health Department, fire and rescue personnel, the Hospital, social services and Parole and Probation to meet on a weekly basis. They would look at real data, and see what the problem is, the extent of the problem and how they can help each other, he says.

Bickel unsuccessfully ran for Sheriff in 2010, and 2014 against incumbent Chuck Jenkins.

Sheriff Jenkins is known for working with federal authorities under the 287g program in enforcing the immigration laws, and eventually deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes. But Bickel says questions about the value of this program need to be answered. “There really needs to be an audit done,” he says to find out why we have it. “What problem is it in Frederick County that’s being addressed by the 287g program.”

“The second question should be are we having an impact. Are we actually solving the problem, and what are the costs: the economic cost; the social costs,” says Bickel.

Sheriff Jenkins has said that the county is making money off the 287g  program, but Bickel says the preliminary information he’s received is that the county has lost about a million dollars.

Related to that, Bickel says the Sheriff’s Office needs to do more outreach to the immigrant and minority communities. especially as many of them are moving out into the county from Frederick city. He says one person on staff should be assigned that task on a full time basis. “If you want to have a safe haven for gangs, it’s going to be in communities where people don’t trust the police,” he said. “You have to develop those relationships with the community to route out the gang problem. And right now, that’s not taking place.”

In the 1990’s, Bickel served in a command position with the Sheriff’s Office under the late Carl Harbaugh. He was fired after Jim Hagy was elected Sheriff in 1994.


By Kevin McManus