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Indicted Frederick County sheriff returns to work after self-imposed leave

Frederick County Sheriff Jenkins Charles “Chuck” Jenkins left U.S. District Court in Baltimore on April 12, 2023. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

By David Andrews

Frederick County Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Jenkins put himself back on the job Monday — more than four months after he announced he would take a leave of absence as he faces federal criminal charges.

Jenkins (R) sent a memo Monday morning to the Frederick County executive and the Frederick County council alerting of his return to full-duty status.

“Effective immediately” at 8:30 a.m. Monday, the memo stated the end of a self-imposed leave of absence by Jenkins himself that he started in April so that, according to him, he wouldn’t be a distraction to the agency at the time.

“It’s time for me to come back to work, I have an obligation to carry out my responsibilities,” Jenkins told WTOP. “And that’s where I’m at right now.”

Jenkins and the owner of a shooting range in the county were indicted by a federal grand jury in April on charges of conspiracy and making false statements in what prosecutors said was a scheme to illegally acquire machine guns.

Prosecutors said Jenkins, who has been the Frederick County sheriff since 2006, conspired with Robert Justin Krop to falsify documents in order to buy machine guns for Krop’s business, The Machine Gun Nest shooting range.

Both Jenkins and Krop have pleaded not guilty to all charges and are seeking to have the case dismissed. Jenkins said he couldn’t speak about the case, but maintained his innocence.

Jenkins was forced to surrender his service weapon as a condition of his release before trial, and a judge last month declined a follow-up request from Jenkins’ lawyers that he be allowed to carry his service weapon.

“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 said. “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.”

Jenkins told WTOP he believed it was “past time” to return to work, and that by all accounts, “I’ve been working anyway.” He said he’s been out in public, making appearances at events and ceremonies, and that he sent the memo on Monday as a formality.

Now serving his fifth term, Jenkins said the people who support him continue to do so, and the people who don’t, “never will.” He called the indictment “political vindictiveness” earlier this year and realizes that everyone isn’t on board with his return to work.

“I’m not going to resign, I’m not forced to resign unless I’m convicted, and I’m sorry to say that’s the way it is,” he said.

Jenkins and Krop are both awaiting trial.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Maryland Matters’ Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this story.

As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Thomas Robertson. Click here for the WTOP News website.


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Indicted Frederick County sheriff returns to work after self-imposed leave