Four months after a Maryland sheriff took a leave of absence when he was indicted on federal gun charges, he declared himself back on the job "effective immediately" in a move that another county official called a "mockery of the process," the Baltimore Banner reports. The five-term sheriff of Frederick County, Chuck Jenkins, was indicted on charges that he improperly helped a gun shop owner acquire machine guns. Jenkins' self-reinstatement comes a few weeks after his attorneys said in court filings that he “continues to work daily, fulfilling his Constitutional Duty as the elected Sheriff of Frederick County ... without his service pistol, at great personal risk to himself” and had resumed work after only “several days of sitting on the side lines.” Jenkins said in a statement sent to the media. “The leave of absence was self-imposed and there is no reason not to return to full duty at this point."
After his indictment in April, Jenkins was ordered to surrender his firearms, including his service pistols. It was in motions asking to be able to carry a weapon that his attorneys said his leave had been brief and he was continuing to work. A magistrate judge denied his request, and his attorneys are appealing to a district judge. County Executive Jessica Fitzwater said in a statement that she was “disappointed that he has gone back on his word” and said he should explain to the public why he was reversing course on his self-imposed leave of absence. “Sheriff Jenkins’ decision to take a leave of absence demonstrated an understanding of the seriousness of the charges against him,” Fitzwater said. Federal prosecutors say Jenkins helped gun dealer Robert Krop obtain machine guns to rent out to the public by signing letters saying that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office wanted to see a demonstration of the guns, which was false. Krop is also charged in the case.