DNR police superintendent set to retire

May 26, 1994|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Sun Staff Writer

The superintendent of Maryland's Natural Resources Police -- an agency accused in recent months of racial discrimination and sexual harassment -- announced his retirement yesterday.

Col. Franklin I. Wood, 51, said that he decided, "after much deliberation," to "pursue other opportunities in the boating and conservation law enforcement fields."

The resignation was not related to the lawsuits alleging racial bias or a complaint of sexual harassment by a female former officer, according to John R. Griffin, deputy secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

The allegations became subjects of state police investigations, the last of which were completed three weeks ago, Mr. Griffin said. He added that the department was not revealing details of the probes, but will say "some general things about them" in "the immediate future."

Colonel Wood has been with the agency for 26 years, starting in 1968 as an inspector in what was then the state Marine Police. He became the colonel in charge of the agency in 1992.

Among his accomplishments cited by the department yesterday were a key role in writing and testifying on Maryland's law on operating boats while intoxicated, and creating the agency's OWI enforcement and training program.

The retirement becomes official July 1, but Colonel Wood will effectively be leaving May 31 and taking leave time, Mr. Griffin said.

A federal suit filed against DNR April 30 by three black officers, the Black Officers Association Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that white supervisors routinely disregarded black officers' complaints of discrimination and refused to investigate or discipline white officers.

The suit claimed that Colonel Wood and his predecessor, Roy Rafter, were aware of but did nothing about ostensibly humorous material disparaging to blacks that had been passed around by white officers.

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