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July 9, 2015

Frederick Police Chief Already on Duty

Harry M. Covert

From everything I’ve gathered, Frederick’s police department does a pretty good job with its keeping everything safely and in order.

The difficulty for the good citizens is keeping a police chief. Usually when the police chief’s office seems to rotate more than usual, the problem generally lies at the desk of city leaders who meddle and meddle and keep sticking their noses in the daily crime-fighting operations.

Since I don’t know the mayor except by name and reputation, which has been good, His Honor Randy McClement should get on the ball and promote the city’s new police chief, the colonel of police, from within the current rank structure.

For certain, Mr. Mayor can save himself a lot of unpleasantness and the taxpayers a lot of money, by promoting Captain Patrick Grossman to the top spot.

The usual game when a chief retires, resigns or finds a better job is, and I believe it’s only for public consumption, is to ask the International Association of Police Chiefs to find applicants. This is all nice and good and helps a lot of people to find jobs. More important it’s a waste of time and derogatory to the troops.

This angle does a disservice to the rank and file of the current operation. After all the in-service training, academic demands and all sorts of activities, the men and women serving the community know the job.

There is simply no reason for Acting Chief Grossman and his commanding colleagues to be swept aside. The city has already invested its time and talent in its police officials.

The city already touts the department: “The Frederick Police Department (FPD) is a progressive, innovative, and community oriented agency committed to combating crime and ensuring the City of Frederick an exceptional quality of life. Our employees are dedicated to providing professional police service in partnership with our community.”

Pretty good to those who know a bit about police operations.

Further, the official bragging continues: “The Frederick Police Department is a full service, nationally accredited police agency providing police services to the more than 65,000 residents of Frederick as well as hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors. The FPD provides an array of multi-faceted police services through multiple divisions within the agency in an effort to keep our quality of life high and effectively prevent and combat crime.”

Who the heck does Mr. McClement want to bring in and give four-stars on a collar, somebody like the not very good Baltimore police commissioner; or some New York City police department lieutenant; or a wannabe from another jurisdiction that the locals there want to see gone?

Several recent ranking Frederick police officers have gone on to adjoining local and agencies. The retired former chief comes out of retreat to become a deputy police chief and another joins a small town as chief.

The word has it that whoever studied applications for the $116,000-plus salary didn’t quality the department’s applicants. Shameful.

The city has paid the police chief’s association $38,000 to search for a new chief. I could have named a few who’d be great for the position.

Salary for those in command of the department is not penury. They range from $70,000 to $100,000, give or take years of service and other perks.

What motivation is there for a sworn officer to move up the ranks and then to the chief’s suite?

All of this “who struck John” nonsense is and has been a waste of time. There is no need, professionally or otherwise to perpetrate a boondoggle and not promote from within the department.

To bring in an outsider who doesn’t know squat about Frederick city or county or its people is wrong.

To elevate Acting Chief Grossman makes clear sense. Basically, he already knows the complement of the sworn and civilian staff. He knows the community. He knows the courts. He knows the criminals running amok.

Why invest in the careers and lives of Frederick Police? Then, when opportunity avails itself, ignore the city’s financial investments and trust in those who have dedicated themselves by protecting citizens and nabbing criminals and putting them where they belong.

The conversation about community policing and such foolishness is nuts.

Don’t spend another taxpayer cent to comb the nation for a police chief when the best person is ready, willing and available.

Mr. Mayor and aldermanic types, stop lollygagging, put the eagles or four-stars on Acting Chief Grossman.


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