BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler expressed disappointment in the political turmoil surrounding the local race for state's attorney.
He noted that the Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Union had thrown its support in the upcoming Republican primary behind Alison Healey, who previously worked as a prosecutor in the Harford County State's Attorney.
"Sadly, this endorsement has now been twisted into a negative expression of no confidence in Mr. Peisinger," Gahler said.
The Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Union announced on Sunday that its members have lost faith and confidence in Harford County State's Attorney Al Peisinger.
The union consists of over 300 members who have "become increasingly alarmed at the lengths Al Peisinger has stooped to mischaracterize his support and demonize the hard-working deputies of Harford County," union officials said in a statement.
In its statement, the union cited "Peisinger's lack of leadership" as a problem and claimed that it has led to the deterioration of trust.
"This deterioration of trust has been outlined in previous statements by deputies observing incompetence of everyday cases and victims being re-victimized by the office that is sworn to represent them," union officials said.
The union is now backing Geaketm Peisinger's opponent.
"To be clear, I have the utmost confidence in the work being done by State's Attorney Peisinger and members of his staff," Gahler said. "Mr. Peisinger has been a great partner on public safety issues during his time in office and the notion that he is soft on crime is not a fair assessment. If Mr. Peisinger is re-elected, I believe the administrative concerns the Union has can be addressed with little effort. If Ms. Healey is successful in her campaign, I would hope we can enjoy the same level of cooperation and support that exists today."
In a response on his campaign Facebook page, Peisinger suggested the letter from the union's leadership did not reflect the views of all members. He said he's heard from law enforcement officers who still back him.
"I agree with you that it is unfortunate that a small handful of vocal opposition are given the privilege of speaking for you, and are abusing that privilege," he said. "You are correct – their personal agendas are not your union's true voice."
He chalked up the letter as "part of the political process" but said deputies are "being manipulated."
Addressing deputies, Peisinger said: "You are smarter than that, and more loyal than that. You deserve better than to be manipulated and placed in a position of having to be quiet or risk your livelihood."
In its letter, the union, like Healey, linked Peisinger to Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, "who also used the same intimidation style tactics to discredit the reputation of hard-working police officers."
Peisinger was a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office from 2001-2016, overlapping with Mosby's tenure at the helm of the office for parts of two years. Prior to winning the office in 2015, Mosby was an assistant state's attorney for the city from 2006-2011.
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