3 picked for safety, DOT posts

January 14, 1995|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Sun Staff Writer

Gov.-elect Parris N. Glendening has tapped the Prince George's County police chief, a longtime Schaefer Cabinet member and a Montgomery County lawyer to head the state's safety and transportation agencies.

Bishop L. Robinson, 67, a former Baltimore police commissioner who has served two terms in William Donald Schaefer's Cabinet, was nominated for a third term as secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

David B. Mitchell, 44, chief of the Prince George's County Police Department since 1990, was nominated as state police superintendent.

And David L. Winstead, 47, a corporate lawyer and lobbyist with experience in zoning, commercial real estate and regional planning, was nominated as secretary of the Department of Transportation.

The governor-elect said Mr. Robinson's depth of experience in state government was an important consideration. During the gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Glendening promised to make the streets safer and to extend prison sentences for repeat violent offenders.

To do that, Mr. Glendening said, would require "fresh, innovative and less expensive approaches to crime."

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services supervises Maryland's prisons, state police department, parole and probation division and fire marshal's office. One of Mr. Robinson's first duties will be to create a "comprehensive corrections management plan" to find alternative ways to supervise nonviolent offenders and free prison space for violent criminals, Mr. Glendening said.

Mr. Glendening praised two programs developed under Mr. Robinson's administration -- home detention and "boot camp." An estimated 7,000 inmates have been enrolled in home detention since the program was launched in 1992, while 1,200 offenders have gone through the state's boot camp.

Mr. Robinson said the nomination was a "high honor and privilege." The Baltimore native had announced plans to leave office in 1993 to head security at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but later changed his mind.

"I share the same philosophy as Governor Glendening and I think we'll make an excellent team," Mr. Robinson said.

Mr. Mitchell restored pride and professionalism in a police department with a "negative reputation" that included charges of police brutality, Mr. Glendening said.

As chief in Prince George's, he promoted opportunities for black officers, expanded community-oriented policing, created a victim-witness program and won national accreditation for a department with 1,700 employees.

"He's been creative. He has a vision," Mr. Glendening said. "He's worked closely with community leaders and he's committed to new programs and tight fiscal restraint to make our communities safer."

Mr. Mitchell, a resident of Palmer Park, said his agency's mission will be patrolling highways, investigating crimes and community policing in rural jurisdictions. It also will conduct statewide criminal investigations such as those focused on organized crime and drug trafficking, he said.

A 24-year veteran of the Prince George's County Police Department, Mr. Mitchell said he was inheriting an outstanding organization in the state police. He declined to comment on recent controversies such as last year's raid on The Block in Baltimore or allegations of sexual harassment of female troopers.

Mr. Glendening said he has known Mr. Winstead for 12 years and expects him to develop the state's transportation network to promote business growth and new jobs. He said Mr. Winstead also understands the governor-elect's pledge not to raise taxes.

A member of the Bethesda law firm of Wilkes, Artis, Hedrick and Lane, Mr. Winstead is a registered Annapolis lobbyist for the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Association for Commercial Real Estate. He is a registered Republican.

The Chevy Chase resident is chairman of an advisory group to the state Transportation Department, a member of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport Business Development Council and vice chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Social Services. He is a former special assistant to U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr.

NTC Mr. Winstead said he would like to find alternative ways to improve Maryland's roads. He said he is particularly interested in traffic management systems that can direct motorists along existing roads more efficiently.

Mr. Glendening's nominees will require state Senate confirmation -- usually a formality. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Prince George's County Democrat, said he supported all three choices.

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