Earlier this week the Hagerstown Herald Mail published a story about the next citizens’ meeting to be held in Sharpsburg. Concerned citizens want answers about how the incident, in which a massive military-like operation in search of one man with an alleged gun violation, scared and infuriated residents of the rural Washington County, MD town.
From the Hagerstown Herald Mail on Monday (emphasis mine):
Sharpsburg-area residents and others plan to hold a meeting Saturday at Sharpsburg Town Hall to discuss the way Maryland State Police handled a search for illegal firearms last month at a man’s home on Mills Road, one of the organizers said Monday.
Sharpsburg Vice Mayor Bryan Gabriel said the noon meeting also would be a way for residents to show support for 46-year-old Terry Porter, who could not be found when police entered his property at 4433 Mills Road on Nov. 29. Porter surrendered to authorities a day later.
“It was kind of overwhelming,” Gabriel said of the show of force that included SWAT teams from Washington County, state police and the FBI. “They could have put a lot of people at risk.”
He said one of his concerns was that armed officers who were searching in the woods near Porter’s rural home could have shot a hunter by mistake.
Gabriel said about 60 people attended a similar meeting Dec. 8 at Town Hall. [That is the meeting Judy attended, here—ed].
State Police plan to attend Saturday, but NOT Washington County’s elected sheriff (not good).
Gabriel said Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore and Lt. Tom Woodward, commander of the Maryland State Police barrack near Hagerstown, were invited to attend the upcoming meeting on Saturday.
Woodward said Monday that he planned to attend.
“I’m not going to go,” Mullendore said Monday during a telephone interview. “I told the people it wasn’t (the sheriff’s office’s) case. I don’t want to get in to the situation where I’m putting myself, the sheriff’s office, against the state police. It was their case. I think they should handle it.”
Mullendore said state police didn’t notify the sheriff’s office before the search took place. State and federal officials aren’t required to tell the sheriff’s office before they conduct a search in Washington County, he said, “but typically, as a courtesy, they’ll let us know.” [There is some dispute over this, and it’s possible the federal government’s involvement may have been illegal—ed]
Mullendore said the sheriff’s office didn’t know about the raid until state police called the Washington County Special Response Team for assistance.
Woodward said local law enforcement officials weren’t notified because troopers initially planned to serve a routine search warrant. The situation escalated when troopers couldn’t find Porter on the first floor of the home, Woodward said. They also heard a rumor from several people that the property might have been booby trapped. [From what ‘reliable’ source(s) did they hear this erroneous information—ed]
A facebook page—-Friends for Terry—has been created and a flyer posted there (and around town) lists several community concerns which will be discussed with law enforcement, including:
~Why was a “no knock warrant” issued.
~What was the cost of the operation and who pays.
~ What was the rush.
~What was the justification for the operation and its size.
~ What departments and agencies participated.
~ How many law enforcement officers were present and what equipment was involved.
~ Why was the community and the Porter family put in danger.
Attend the meeting Saturday, December 15th, Sharpsburg Town Hall, 106 E. Main St., noon!
You do not have to be a resident of Sharpsburg to attend, just an American citizen and taxpayer with concern for the possible over-reach of government.
One more thing: Just now this old story popped up on google about a neighbor’s pit bull dogs killing a dog belonging to Mr. Porter last year. Is it related in some way to the events of late November? Hmmmm…..