Saying she wants to “restore honor” to the sheriff’s department, Beth Smith on Friday announced she is vying to become the first female sheriff in the 300-year history of the office. Smith, a former lieutenant in the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office, will challenge incumbent Sheriff Ron Bateman, who was acquitted last year of allegations that he assaulted his wife. Smith said she believes “it’s time for a change” in the sheriff’s office.
“I feel that I can bring that change smoothly because of my experience,” she said.
The Republican from Riviera Beach spent 13 years in the sheriff’s office, where in 1995 she was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant. The rest of her career has also been focused on law enforcement. Smith, who grew up in West Virginia, joined the Army when she was 18 years old. She served for four years in the military police, rising to the rank of sergeant and working as guard commander of the military jail at Fort George G. Meade.
After she was honorably discharged, Smith decided she wanted to make Anne Arundel County her home. She worked in security for Loyola College before joining the sheriff’s office. During her time there, Smith helped to create a K-9 unit that trains dogs to sniff for potential bombs in the courthouse. Other initiatives she developed include a supervised visitation program for children whose parents are divorced, a program to help senior citizens navigate the courts system and the county’s first victim witness protection plan. Smith, 54, now works as a court liaison representing landlords in disputes with tenants. She also coordinates security for the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville each summer.
She said she wants to run for sheriff to “bring respect and integrity back to the office.”
“It’s lacking, and I think that I can make that different,” she said. “I couldn’t sit back and not do anything when I feel the way I do about service.”
Smith is the second candidate to announce a challenge in 2018 to Bateman, a Republican who has said he plans to run for re-election. Lt. Jim Fredericks, also a Republican and an officer with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, announced his candidacy in September. Bateman made headlines last year after his wife, Elsie Bateman, called police to the couple’s home and alleged he had assaulted her during an argument. She issued a statement soon afterward that backtracked on the accusation. Bateman denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign, despite calls from state and local Republicans that he do so. Three months later, a District Court judge acquitted the sheriff of a second-degree assault charge after the county prosecutor agreed not to present evidence against him in exchange for a pledge that Bateman would complete counseling.
In January, Elsie Bateman wrote an open letter in which she apologized to her husband, the sheriff’s department and others, and said she will “stop at nothing” to make sure they know “just how truly very sorry I am from the bottom of my heart.”
Smith said she would prioritize reducing the county’s backlog of warrants if she is elected. Bateman told council members this month that he has started to make a dent in the number of unserved warrants despite increases in the number of warrants issued, reducing the backlog from 13,000 when he started to 11,000 today. Smith said she believes the process could move faster. “Papers need to be served because, without the papers being served, cases aren’t heard in court and people don’t get their justice,” she said. She also promised to focus on improving security at the county’s courthouse and offering support to victims of domestic violence.
Smith has $107,248 in her campaign coffers, according to paperwork filed in January. Of that, $75,000 comes from loans she made to her campaign. She has a fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday at EcoAdventures in Millersville.
The primary election is June 26, 2018.
After Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s electoral victory Saturday, what’s next for the Islamic Republic? Here’s some things to watch for:
Those backing President Ebrahim Raisi will accept the results. However, hard-liners within Iran’s judiciary and security services will continue to pressure Rouhani in different ways. Even before the vote, hard-line elements routinely detained dual nationals, likely seeking concessions from the West. Artists, journalists, models and others have been targeted in crackdowns on expression. Hard-liners probably will challenge Rouhani in the country’s parliament, especially over social issues or any measure that appears to be accepting or promoting Western culture. The paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will continue to launch ballistic missiles and have close encounters with U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf. THE ECONOMY
The nuclear deal with world powers allowed Iran to start selling its crude oil everywhere and the country quickly re-entered Europe and other key markets. However, their re-entry comes as global crude prices remain stuck around $50 a barrel, about half the price when major sanctions began to bite. Airbus and Boeing Co. have signed multi-billion-dollar deals with Iran since the accord as well. Iran was also reconnected to the international banking system. Even so, many other international firms remain hesitant to re-enter the Iranian market for fear of changing political winds that may usher in new sanctions, jeopardizing their profits and any nascent ventures.
RELATIONS WITH THE U.S. Donald Trump long threatened to renegotiate the nuclear deal while on the campaign trail. His administration said it put Iran “on notice” in February after issuing a series of sanctions following ballistic missile tests. But since then, Trump’s administration has taken a key step toward preserving the accord. Rouhani’s win may ease some of the tensions between the two nations, as a hard-line victory could have further imperiled the deal. It’s unlikely relations will ever be as warm as they were between former President Barack Obama and Rouhani, as the two even once shared a telephone call amid the nuclear negotiations, the highest-level direct communication since the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran. RELATIONS WITH SAUDI ARABIA
Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday is not going unnoticed by Iran. The Sunni kingdom and Shiite power Iran haven’t had diplomatic relations since early 2016. That’s when Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric and protesters in Iran attacked two of the kingdom’s diplomatic posts. Saudi Arabia immediately cut diplomatic ties and other Sunni Arab countries in the Gulf have taken a harder line on Iran since. Many of those countries worry about Iran’s regional intentions. Iran backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, supports Shiite militias battling the Islamic State group in Iraq and has aided Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, holding Yemen’s capital. Iran and Saudi Arabia have held talks on allowing Iranians to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage in the Sunni kingdom, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their lives. However, tensions remain.
THE SUPREME LEADER
Khamenei, 77, is only the second supreme leader in Iran’s history. There have been concerns about his health over the last few years. He underwent prostate surgery in 2014. Iran’s president is one of three members on a temporary council that takes over the supreme leader’s duties should his post become vacant until a successor is named by the panel known as the Assembly of Experts. Rouhani and Raisi both sit in that assembly.
by VIVIAN SALAMA AND DARLENE SUPERVILLE, ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Donald Trump delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (WJAR)
NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP)
President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at his “critics and naysayers” following more than a week of negative news coverage beginning with his sudden decision to fire James Comey as FBI director.
In an address to the newest group of U.S. Coast Guard officers, Trump urged the 195 graduates in the Class of 2017 to “put your head down and fight, fight, fight” when life presents them with challenges and adversity. Trump’s appearance at the academy came the day after reports that he had personally appealed to Comey to abandon the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump fired Flynn earlier this year for misleading top White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials. The White House has denied the latest report, which landed amid a furor over the president’s recent Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information. The White House has said it was “wholly appropriate” for Trump to share the information.
Trump did not mention Comey during the nearly half-hour address, but seemed to allude to the multiple controversies swirling around him.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” Trump said. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”
“I guess that’s why we won,” he said, before continuing to offer the graduates his advice.
“Adversity makes you stronger. Don’t give in, don’t back down and never stop doing what you know is right,” Trump said. “Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy and the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face.”
Trump also praised the newly minted Coast Guard officers, emphasizing that they will be an asset as new members of the U.S. military to his efforts to protect the homeland, protect U.S. harbors and seas from drug smuggling and human trafficking, and keep out “all who seek to do harm to our country.”
“Together, we have the same mission and your devotion and dedication makes me truly proud to be your commander in chief,” he said. Despite Trump’s praise, a financial outline for the Department of Homeland Security prepared by the White House budget office calls for scrapping the Coast Guard’s counterterrorism Maritime Security Response Team, and all of its Maritime Safety and Security Teams. The rationale for eliminating the programs wasn’t spelled out in the document released earlier this year. Trump has made fighting terrorism a top priority, and his overall budget outline calls for significant increases in military spending. The Coast Guard is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
Security is a major concern for the president’s first visit to Southern New England since he was elected.
Police Chief Peter Reichard said he’s mainly concerned about protesters traveling from New York, Boston and Springfield.
As a result, police are not allowing protesters to cover their faces, and they are not allowing signs on sticks in the hope of keeping order.
“We have zero tolerance for violence. If there’s violent acts taking place, the police department will act immediately to cease that violence,” Reichard said.
Police will also be barricading two opposing rallies that will be taking place at a park near the Coast Guard Academy.
The Westerly Sun reported that fisherman from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts plan to greet President Trump from the Thames River and hope the president will get their message to “make commercial fishing great again.”
NBC 10 News contributed to this report.