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Sheriff Tim Cameron Has Always Walked Tall
By Ken Rossignol The first time I observed St. Mary’s County, Md. Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Cameron on the job; he was training a new deputy that had recently graduated from the police academy. The young officer was nervous and unsure of himself as the two cops checked out a suspected drunk driver on a traffic stop in the summer of 1990. With caution and courtesy, Cameron guided the rookie through the steps that would determine if the motorist was inebriated and was going to punch his ticket for a ride to jail or be allowed to have someone called to pick him up and drive his vehicle. The easy way out wasn’t in the cards for that driver and for many others over the years. While observing the arrest, as part of the daily news coverage of operating my small newspaper, it was clear to me that the citizens had a standout senior officer training this new deputy. That was the first of many occasions that I would find Deputy Tim Cameron working to make arrests, keep the peace, and supervise younger and less experienced officers as part of his job as a field supervisor.
Thus the level of quality in the top ranks of the department was lacking. a post he won through politics and has kept through a commitment to professionalism. As a road patrol supervisor Tim Cameron’s job was to make sure that the rights of the public to be protected from often gruesome criminals was protected. . Cops are quick to gripe. That night Cameron was working. Anyone who knows cops very well. While there was a newly enacted merit system for the St. When a citizen called into volunteer to aid the deputies who were rounding up the newspaper. All during the time that the burly cop led a squad of deputies. The difference between tragedy and serenity is often a split second away. not Cameron. as a reporter. and to the young cops Cameron supervised. He laughs at the idea that cops and the supervisors who cross the line and fail to do their job to actually enforce the protection of the Constitutional rights of citizens manage to get it wrong. those who were the supervisors were hired prior to the enactment. who they knew and were expected to be little more than a politician with a gun and a badge who would do the bidding of the Sheriff at election time. He was the desk sergeant and therefore didn’t know of the actions of the Sheriff and his posse of paper-grabbers. but a different chap. sometimes just one or two to guard the entire county. he always kept his sense of humor and just as important. He doesn’t laugh at the Constitution. The United States Court of Appeals agreed with Cameron in a decision they issued five years later. even if they buy the papers. astonishingly led by the Sheriff himself. They ruled that cops can’t go around and raid newsstands. The FBI began an investigation into the newspaper raid and they quickly determined the role played by Cameron. will admit that in addition to their heroic qualities. along with a candidate for States Attorney. who was not yet Sheriff. and is honest about it. Cameron was smart. digging in their heels to a sense of “us vs. while his bosses were breaking the law. Mary’s deputies in the 1980’s.Cameron was a road patrol corporal. When news of an incident in which police officers have grabbed cameras and reporters have been arrested for taking photos. Getting the big picture is vital for a cop as many of them often tend to lose sight of the big picture and to withdraw into the world of fellow cops. That night crystalized for me that the difference I had learned between Cameron and the “political” Sheriff and his cronies. that the Sheriff’s Department was not involved in any such action. Those top bananas were simply political lackeys and fostered a Laurel & Hardy image for the department. them”. decided to raid newsstands. as it would be illegal. On election eve in 1998. his sense of proportion. they happen to be a bunch of crybabies. But he wasn’t working as a road patrol supervisor. that he was enforcing the law. he has been the Sheriff. Cameron told him to do nothing of the sort. Cameron joined the St. having just been promoted after serving a stint as a detective. But it was clear to me. The general public has knot heads among them that would test the patience of brick wall when it comes to their behavior to others and to police officers. He still is and since 2006. as they did in retaliation for critical news coverage. Deputies were hired based on who their families were. educated and well-disciplined. complain and moan about things that they don’t like. a gang of cops. Cameron laughs. They wanted to remove all available copies of my newspaper from the streets before voters could read critical articles about them. that the rights of the public were to be respected. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department at a time when the sheriff who hired him was elected on a platform to “professionalize” the agency. They are also quick to run to the aid of a woman being beat up and threatened by an estranged husband armed with a knife or a gun. The bad guys need to be locked up. The FBI seized the tapes that proved that Cameron.
represented by Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz re: United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Rossignol v Voorhaar. While the public stewed and simmered over their resentment to having rogues.you --.com which focuses on impaired driving. That new sheriff was the one who presided over the failure to charge the captain with grand larceny. “You know. After seeing first-hand the gentle but firm law enforcement administered by Sheriff Tim Cameron. In 2006. that it is a nice place to live. either retired or quit. which tells the story of his newspaper. included articles in most major news outlets. a captain. Sheriff Cameron told me not long ago that after leaving a Little League ball game with his oldest son that his son looked at him and said. Ken Rossignol is the author of 16 books. The story of the St. including The Story of The Rag. Every father should be so lucky to ever hear those words from their child. as his wife was the campaign treasurer for the state’s attorney who couldn’t really see any crime in grand larceny. Cameron had his own opinions and before long he was assigned to duties as division commander and then to run the jail. Cameron won the job and four years later he was widely believed to have made such a great difference that no one bothered to run against him. ABC 20/20 and Good Morning America highlighted the story and lots of articles went out on the Associated Press with details of both the newspaper raid and the story of “Where’s the Loot?” For Tim Cameron and the younger deputies on the department the stigma of corruption and “Keystone Cops” were an extra layer of responsibility to wear to work each day in an already difficult job. for me. Mary's Today newspaper is now available in ebook and paperback: The Story of THE RAG! The book includes nearly 200 editorial cartoons that appeared over the years. That captain was forced to quit. His top assistant.are my hero”. in spite of the problems brought about by drugs and crime. Rossignol has appeared on Good Morning America.000 in seized property to be disbursed to his step-son and his buddy. Cameron smiled. ST. Rossignol publishes the nation-wide DWIHitParade. Kilpatrick. thus he wasn’t sent to jail where he belonged. News coverage of Rossignol's landmark civil rights case. crooks and bullies at the top of the county’s law enforcement agency. Consider what an embarrassment it was for any officer on the department to have the Sheriff and his top bananas involved in a raid on newsstands in an action that went all the way to the Supreme Court and drew national attention to the county and the old-boy type of politics. . far too many incidents over 22 years to be able to relate. tells the whole story about this cop. MARY’S TODAY. A Body in the Bay. Dad that --. he stepped up and ran against the hapless soul who replaced the sheriff who commanded the newspaper raid. was found to have allowed $80. ABC 20/20. But the job he wanted was that of sheriff. Tim’s wife Angie and their two sons are a close family and they mirror what the community likes to believe about itself.That term was the last term for that Sheriff and most of his cronies are now gone. ABC World News Tonight and in a 2012 production of Discovery Channel Investigation Motives & Murders Series. as well as a column by syndicated columnist James J. he was hired to be the county’s emergency operations director. one thing comes to mind that. When he retired. started up an election campaign of friends and began to work. 2003.
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