Frederick Co. sheriff under indictment explains why he is returning to work

After facing a federal case over acquiring machine guns for a local business, Frederick County, Maryland, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is discussing about why he is returning to duty after a self-imposed leave of absence.

“It didn’t shock anybody, more than to shock me,” Jenkins told the Frederick Report podcast about a grand jury indictment from April.

Jenkins and the owner of a shooting range in the county face charges of conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors said he conspired with Robert Justin Krop to falsify documents in order to buy machine guns for Krop’s business, The Machine Gun Nest shooting range.

They have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the interview posted on Friday, he refused to go into details about the case, but was able to shed light on why he stepped away from the office immediately after the indictment for several months.

“Nobody asked me, nobody forced me, I felt it was the right thing to do at that time,” he said.

He told the Frederick report his two main reasons, “Number one, to just take a step back. I was shocked. What’s this all about? Let me get a handle on things. Secondly, and most importantly, not to be a distraction for the men and women who are working out on the street.”

He returned to office on Aug. 28, informing the county council through a memo.

“There are certain duties and responsibilities I cannot delegate, I need to be involved, I have to be involved because of the role of the sheriff,” Jenkins said.

He added that he’s still getting support from the people who voted him into office in November 2022.

“I’ve heard very few people ask me to step down just again, go to the election. What was it 51% to 48%? That’s probably what it is over this issue,” he said. “No one’s jumped the fence either way.”

Some on the county council have been vocal opponents of Jenkins return.

And while he has returned to his role, he will do so without a sidearm.

Jenkins was forced to surrender his service weapon as a condition of his release before trial. A judge also declined his request to carry it.

“I’m not going to be able to make arrests, no. … I’ve got to be very careful what situation I get involved in,” Jenkins told WTOP last month. “But again, carrying out the administrative and management responsibilities of what I do every day is not going to change whether or not I carry a gun.”

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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