Frederick Mayoral Candidates Take Part In Forum Wed. Night

They addressed a number of issues


Frederick, Md (KM) The candidates running for Mayor of Frederick participated in an on-line forum Wednesday night, addressing a number of issues.

One was violence crime, particularly in the downtown area. Former Mayor and Democratic candidate Jennifer Dougherty called for more community policing. She said patrol vehicles are important, but there’s also a need police officers on foot and bicycles so they can move around quickly. “This is what stops crime. This is what residents are asking for. And the fact that we’re not listening to them is a problem,” she said.

Republican Steven Hammrick said violence crime is increasing, and the police need more support. “I go out and I’ve  spoken to many police officers, law enforcement, people that are on the beat, and they all say the same thing: all they want is more help. They need more tools, equipment, training. They need more of them because per capta, the population is growing, there hasn’t an increase in police department structure,” he says.

Alderman Roger Wilson, whose running for Mayor as a Democrat, said  the city needs to use more technology. “I believe that we should have, by now, invested in cameras in high crime areas where our police can’t be visible all the time,” Wilson says. “I think we need to take another look at hiring and making sure we’re are hiring the best and the brightest in our police department.”

Democrat John Funderburk said the city needs to look at innovative solutions, especially when it comes to violent crime. “That crime has been studied to be done by approximately just 3% of the population. So if you could target those 3% of the population, those small number of groups  of people that commit the same violence crime over and and over over again, as other small cities have done, you can drastically reduce the amount of violent crime in our city,” he said.

Mayor Michael O’Connor said he’s proud of the fact that Frederick city has a low crime rate. “The data says that Frederick is a safe community, and has been a safe community for 20 years. And it goes back to Jennifer Dougherty’s hiring of Kim Dine {as police chief}. And that began a trend of the city of Frederick becoming a community with relatively low crime when you compare us to virtually any other community of the same size,” he said.

The other candidates who took part in the forum were Republicans  Steve Garrahy and Jeremy Abbott.

The issue of blighted and vacant properties also came up, and Alderman Wilson addressed that. “The Aldermen passed over seven months ago a new ordinance to establish a vacant registry, to levy fees and property taxes on vacant properties. So what are doing?  We can pass all the laws we want. But we need a Mayor, an executive, to enforce those laws,” he said.

No rebuttals were permitted during the forum, but Mayor O’Connor had this response. “It’s really too bad that Alderman Wilson didn’t read the legislation that he passed because he should know the deadlines are on that bill,” O’Connor said. The Mayor later apologized for the outburst.

The forum was sponsored by the Hood College Political Science Department and the Neighborhood Advisory Councils.

Primary election day is Tuesday, September 14th.



By Kevin McManus