State's top FBI agent will retire on April 30

March 18, 1993|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

Bobby R. Gillham, special agent in charge of the FBI's Maryland-Delaware office, said Tuesday that he will retire next month to become security director in Houston of Conoco, the huge petroleum subsidiary of the Du Pont Co. of Wilmington.

He began his FBI career in 1968, when he was a special agent assigned to the bureau's Omaha, Neb., office.

Mr. Gillham, who is 55, said he decided to step down because he was approaching the bureau's mandatory retirement age of 57 at a time when a "good opportunity" came along.

"I'm not at a point in my life where I'm ready to stop working; I'm not ready to slow down," he said.

He set his retirement date for April 30, but he said he will leave the post April 16.

After a two-week vacation, he will start May 3 as security director for Conoco. He expects to oversee loss-prevention investigations and evaluate security systems designed to deter thefts at gasoline stations.

FBI Director William S. Sessions is expected to name a successor to Mr. Gillham in the $112,000-a-year position in the next several weeks.

Mr. Gillham headed the Dallas office of the FBI when he was appointed to the Maryland-Delaware office in May 1991. With 210 special agents, the Maryland-Delaware office is 11th in size among 57 bureau offices in the nation.

Mr. Gillham said his most noteworthy accomplishment here was to beef up the office's violent crime section. He said he has established two new squads of agents to help local jurisdictions handle violent crimes. He boosted the number of agents in the section from 34 to 65.

Some of those agents were part of the bureau's violent crime task force. Working with local police agencies, the task force has arrested some 200 violent fugitives in Baltimore and in Baltimore, Prince George's and Montgomery counties since it went into operation last September.

"We know that if those people are on the street, they're still doing violent crime," Mr. Gillham said, adding that the task force searches for fugitives who are considered the area's most dangerous.

He counted as another success an operation in Delaware, in which rezoning kickbacks were uncovered. The investigation resulted in the indictment and guilty plea of the state's transportation secretary and charges against other officials.

U.S. Attorney Richard D. Bennett said Mr. Gillham helped to coordinate efforts between federal and local law enforcement officials. He said Mr. Gillham was a consummate FBI leader.

"He not only epitomizes the professionalism of the FBI, but he even looks just like Efrem Zimbalist Jr.," Mr. Bennett said. "The first time I met him, I thought they got him right off the television screen."

Locally, his office arrested the owner of Odells nightclub, who pleaded guilty this year to charges of trying to bribe a Baltimore zoning board member.

Mr. Gillham said his office also has cracked down on environmental crimes and has been stepping up efforts to investigate health-care fraud.

During his two years in Maryland, he served on the Governor's Executive Advisory Council, the Governor's Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.

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