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Commissioner Gordon Attempts to Address Crime At Select Businesses Responsible for More Than Half of Police Calls

District 3 commissioner Tom Gordon brings forward the motion to draft a “nuisance establishment ordinance”.

The commissioner board unanimously approved a motion to draft an ordinance to address Carroll County businesses harboring high levels of crime on their premises.  

The measure was brought forward by district 3 commissioner Tom Gordon in response to a letter received from Sheriff DeWees, who described a substantial increase in reported incidents at several retail stores, hotels and motels ranging from theft to drug activity, with “certain establishments accounting for more than half of the calls of service in some areas of the county”.

Gordon read aloud a disturbing statistic from the sheriff’s letter.

One patrol area in December of 2022 had two retail stores that accounted for $54% of all the calls of service in that entire patrol area which covers approximately 40 square miles.

The letter went on to describe “narcotics distribution, drug overdoses, and other related criminal activity at area hotels and motels” requiring significant police resources to combat on a daily basis, while businesses “turn a blind eye on the issue or are hindered by corporate policies”.

The directive allows the sheriff’s department and state’s attorney’s office to develop and propose a nuisance establishment ordinance, which would require businesses to work with police resources to deter crime on their properties.

Gordon’s colleagues expressed full support for the measure.

“I commend commissioner Gordon for taking this initiative…A lot of counties would just say ‘Well, we need to turn around and raise taxes and hire more police’ or just give up”, said commissioner Michael Guerin. “We’re not trying to run businesses out, but those are pretty astounding statistics.  Clearly the sheriff’s department is spending most of their time in the same areas.”

Commissioner Joe Viglotti echoed Guerin’s sentiments.  “To your point…we’re not trying to run businesses out, but we’re trying to make them be a more responsible member of the community in which they exist.  Whether you’re a resident or a business, you’re part of the fabric of this community.”

The motion was passed 4-0.  Commissioner Ed Rothstein was not present for the vote.  A draft ordinance will be reviewed with the commissioners before being brought to public hearing for comment.  No timetable was set. 

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