BEL AIR, Md — Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler isn't pulling any punches.
In a letter to the editor posted on the department's twitter account, Gahler says he supports President Trump's call for the "immediate funding and construction of a border wall".
In a blue state like Maryland, we asked the sheriff if he considered any backlash.
"Did I think about---'Oh, here I go. I'm going to do something that maybe stirs the pot and upsets some people? Yes, but is it the right thing for public safety? Absolutely or you wouldn't hear it from me,” said Gahler, “The message has been consistent from Democrats and Republicans---we need better security, particularly at our southern border, and that message, again, just changed when this president came into office. Let's get past it. They need to find a way to work together."
Gahler points to the flow of drugs into this country and the toll the opioid crisis has had closer to home in Harford County where three people have already died of overdoses in this new year.
The sheriff also penned a letter a few weeks ago challenging Anne Arundel County not to do away with its 287(g) program, which trains county correctional officers to screen detainees for immigration violations.
His own program has turned up more than a hundred such people who will face deportation once they've served their sentences.
"We've had people for all crimes,” said Gahler, “We've had it for homicides. We've had gang members---MS-13. We've had first degree assaults. We've had individuals under rape charges."
While immigration issues have had a polarizing effect on the country, Gahler says he can't afford to get caught up in the politics or to remain silent.
"My focus is on public safety,” said Gahler, “It's what keeps our communities safe and as the state goes, as the country goes, so does Harford County, and it's about frustration."