Annapolis council OKs police agency overhaul

May 10, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

The Annapolis city council approved a resolution last night that will allow the new police chief to proceed with a reorganization of the department despite concerns that the changes would mean two fewer patrol officers.

The reorganization would create two majors' positions and eliminate the position of assistant chief. Two patrol positions that are currently vacant would also be eliminated.

Assistant Chief Joseph S. Johnson announced the reorganization plan almost three weeks ago -- a few days after he was named acting chief of the 123-member department. He replaced Chief Harold Robbins, who resigned April 15.

Mr. Robbins is a finalist for the police chief's job in Lake Worth, Fla.

Last night, Alderman Wayne Turner, a Ward 6 Republican, strongly opposed the resolution approving the creation of the majors' positions at the expense of patrol officers.

"The bottom line is it eliminates two foot soldiers," Mr. Turner said. "We truly need our officers out on the street."

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, argued that the new positions would open opportunities for advancement.

It is expected that two of the department's three captains would be promoted to major, creating a domino effect. Assistant Chief Johnson has said that he wants to create a management structure that would divide oversight responsibilities between two majors who would report directly to him.

When Mr. Robbins was appointed chief three years ago, he asked the council to create the position of assistant chief to oversee many of the day-to-day activities while the chief handled administrative functions.

Mr. Turner said he was concerned that dividing duties between the two majors would create confusion.

Aldermen Samuel Gilmer, a Ward 3 Democrat, and Dean Johnson, a Ward 2 Independent, also expressed reservations about the reorganization plan, but voted for it. Mr. Turner was the only councilman to vote against it.

In other action last night, the council approved an ordinance that bans smoking in all city-owned buildings. Previously, municipal employees were prohibited from smoking in city buildings by order of the mayor.

The ordinance codifies the smoking ban and mandates a fine of up to $100 for each violation.

The council also approved an ordinance that requires prostitutes to leave an area after being ordered by police to do so. The law, similar to an Anne Arundel County ordinance, provides for a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment of not more than 90 days.

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