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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bickel Wants to Restore Dignity to Sheriff’s Office

George Wenschhof
Karl Bickel
During an interview Thursday afternoon, Democrat Karl Bickel repeatedly complained of the lack of leadership in the Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff office.  He told me incumbent Republican sheriff Chuck Jenkins, manages through fear and intimidation resulting in scared employees and low morale.
He said there were good people in the Frederick County Sheriff department and he was running because he wants the opportunity to build leaders in all levels of the organization.
Bickel added he wanted to “restore dignity from top to bottom and that the leadership style needs to change”.
He sent me an email early Friday evening following the interview informing me it was now official and that he had filed to run for Sheriff.  His Treasurer is local attorney and Republican Jason Shoemaker who will also help in managing the campaign.  So far, two Republicans; incumbent Chuck Jenkins and Kevin Grubb have announced they are running for Frederick County Sheriff.
The deadline for candidates to file in the 2014 election is February 25.  The primary election is June 24 and the general election is November 4.
Bickel, who has lived the last 35 years in Monrovia, Maryland recently retired from the U.S. Department of Justice and has a 40 year career in law enforcement.  He previously was the Chief of Law Enforcement Operations with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office when Carl Harbaugh was sheriff and worked with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
Karl also told me he had served on the Frederick County Ethics and Human Relations Commissions.
His education includes a Master of Science Degree in Management; Police Executive Leadership Program from John Hopkins University and a Master of Science Degree; Justice from American University.

He also has taught criminal justice at Allegheny College, Montgomery College and American University. 
Due to Hatch Act restrictions, he explored running as an “Unaffiliated” candidate four years ago, falling short of the required signatures needed to appear on the ballot.
In a wide ranging interview, Bickel told me “there were so many problems across the board.., and that the Sheriff department had a bad reputation outside of Frederick County”.
One area Bickel wants to work on is consolidation of services with The City of Frederick and state police.  He believes there is a strong possibility for combining training with the city.
He also wants to see the Sheriff’s office receive more federal funds, something Bickel says Sheriff Jenkins has failed to do, pointing to a $500,000 federal grant Jenkins turned down when it was brought to his attention from former Maryland sixth district Representative Roscoe Bartlett’s office.
When it comes to high profile cases such as the tragic death of Ethan Saylor, who suffered with Down syndrome, that resulted from actions taken from off duty sheriff deputies working as security guards, Bickel believes an outside agency should do the investigation.  When the investigation is complete, Bickel says it is important to immediately share it with the public.
He believes this type of action could well have prevented a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bickel also shared with me an article he had written for a local newspaper where he was critical of the management of the Frederick County jail, where numerous suicides have occurred under the watch of Sheriff Jenkins.
As sheriff, he plans to take a look at current administrative costs and wants to put more deputies on the road. Bickel said he would like to require ranking officers to spend 10% of their time in the field.
Overall, Karl Bickel wants to provide a change in leadership and move the Frederick County Sheriff’s office forward.
Stay tuned.


The Snyder Family said...

Thank you for the information. Just to note Ethan Saylor did not "suffer from Down Syndrome". He just had it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Frederick is just fine with a sheriff who enforces the law! I would fear that electing a DOJ veteran would get us law enforcement like that at the federal level- ignore the laws you don't like, vigorously enforce the laws against political opponents, etc. DOJ veteran? No thanks!

Anonymous said...

Working for the Department of justice doesn't mean that he would make a good sheriff, we have enough
government to deal with we don't need anymore.Sheriff Jenkins has the skills, demeanor and the savvy that we need in Frederick County.