Hayden ally tried to pull strings, police chief says Domestic dispute led to Behan call

August 03, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer Staff writers Larry Carson and Laura Lippman contributed to this article.

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden and Police Chief Cornelius J. Behan became involved last Tuesday night when police officers were investigating a domestic dispute involving Mr. Hayden's campaign treasurer, James W. Anders Jr.

In the end, police finished their investigation of an altercation between Mr. Anders and his daughter, and Chief Behan now says he was used by Mr. Anders, who tried to trade on his political connections.

According to police reports, Mr. Anders, 37, was not happy when officers went to his Essex home Tuesday night to investigate reports of a loud domestic argument outside the house during which he allegedly pushed his 16-year-old daughter. He told police she had come home late.

"I have a right to discipline my daughter," the police quoted Mr. Anders as saying.

It didn't matter. In such cases, police say, the law requires officers to write a report.

But Mr. Anders did something not many other county residents can do -- he called Mr. Hayden and asked him to speak with the police officer. Mr. Hayden refused, but did call the police chief and ask him to call Mr. Anders.

A few moments later, Chief Behan called and told Officer Stephen L. Hartman to write the report in the normal manner. As it turns out, detectives decided Mr. Anders did not commit child abuse when he disciplined his daughter, a student at Maryvale Preparatory School For Girls.

But news of Chief Behan's unusual call spread through the police department, along with rumors that the chief had interfered in an investigation.

"I feel like I was used," said Chief Behan, who also said Mr. Anders demonstrated "atrocious judgment" by trying to drag him into the investigation.

"I think it was out of order. Absolutely out of order," he said. "He should never have used his familiarity and friendship with Mr. Hayden to do that. This guy is out of order. I don't care who he is.

"The perception is that I stepped in on a case, and I would never do that," said Chief Behan. "I would not interfere with an officer."

Chief Behan said he knew nothing about what was going on at the Anders home when he made the call. He only knew that Mr. Hayden asked him to call. Had he known his officers were at the scene, he would not have called, the chief said.

"Mr. Hayden got a call from the guy Anders," said Chief Behan. "I don't know Anders from a hole in the wall. Mr. Hayden called me and asked me to call him. I said, sure, I'll call him.

"I have kept this department free from being politicized all these years, and I would not send it back now," the chief said.

Aside from being Mr. Hayden's political ally, Mr. Anders is the administrator and chief financial officer for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital for developmentally disabled children in Baltimore.

"It was really bizarre," Mr. Anders said of the incident. "I called Roger, only because I didn't have the chief's number. Basically, the police were leaving anyhow. I just wanted the chief's advice . . . I wasn't asking for help, I was asking for advice. It's no different than calling any friend. At any rate, no one intervened, and no intervention was required."

Chief Behan said he and Mr. Hayden have had "an understanding" that the county executive will not get involved directly with police matters, and Mr. Hayden routinely refers police-related matters to the chief, without getting involved himself.

The chief admitted it was very unusual for him to call someone at home that late on a weeknight. The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. "My involvement was unusual, but the outcome was the same," he said.

Mr. Hayden said, "Jim called me. He was upset because police were there." Mr. Hayden refused to get involved personally, but did promise to relay the complaint to Chief Behan.

Mr. Hayden said he asked Chief Behan to "give Jim a call and see what's going on." He said he did not request or order Chief Behan to intervene in any other way.

"It seems to me everybody did what they're supposed to do," Mr.

Hayden said.

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