MANCHESTER — For the fifth time in as many years, this town's three-man police force has a new chief.
And this time, the new chief says he's here to stay.
"I would like to end my career here, retire here," said Donald M.Myers, 51, a former Taneytown police chief.
Getting a chief to stay for more than a year or so has been difficult in this town of 2,689 people.
The door to the cinder-block headquarters in back of theYork Street town office has been a revolving one since 1986, when Chief Dennis L. Mancha resigned to take a job in Washington.
Mancha was replaced by William A. Hamilton, a 22-year veteran of the state police. By 1987, he was replaced by Russell N. Jenkins, who left before the year was out. Jenkins was replaced by Earl E. Isennock, 27, whoremained until November 1990, when he decided to step down and become an officer on the force so he could spend more time on his Glen Rock, Pa., business.
That revolving door had become a problem of sorts, one rarely discussed during regular monthly meetings.
The council learned of Isennock's intentions during an executive session. Details of the search that ultimately ended with Myers were discussed in executive session; his appointment was announced nearly two weeks after he was notified.
Myers -- who was chosen from a field of about a dozen candidates -- is a soft-spoken, slightly graying father of two.
And while his law-enforcement and security career has taken himto no less than six different employers in the last 25 years, he insists the $23,500-a-year job he began here two weeks ago will be his last.
"In this day and age, police work is a challenge, even in a smaller community," he said. "I like this area, I like the people, I like the job."
Myers' career began in the mid-1960s when, just after his marriage to his wife, Joanna, he applied to both the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore Fire Department in a search for "gainful employment."
The Police Department got in touch with him first. "That's a good thing, because I'm afraid of heights," he said.
He spent two years as a patrolman on the force, making $5,480 a year. Those two years -- 1968 and 1969 -- were "rough years," he said,years that included race riots in the summer of 1968. In 1970, he became chief in Taneytown, a job he held until 1975.
After his stintin Taneytown, he became a security supervisor for Montgomery Ward Inc., eventually becoming responsible for the security at more than 200stores. In 1985, he left to do background checks as an investigator for the U.S. State Department. Later, he was head of security at Towsontown Centre mall.
His most recent job was as head of the 17-member security force at Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore.
The main duties of the police force, which includes Isennock and Officer Michael Bunn, include theft prevention and "a whole lot of public relations,"Myers said.
As the town becomes more of a bedroom community for Baltimore, more homes are vacant during the workday.
"We have to let residents know that when they get back home from work, they'll havea house to come home to," he said.