City schools police chief to be ousted next month Officers on force attribute move to promotions flap

February 14, 1997|By Jean Thompson | Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore schools police chief Linda Flood Willis will be replaced next month in an administrative action that some members of the school force link to a recent flap over officer promotions.

"The chief's contract will not be renewed when it expires, and the rest we can't discuss because it is a personnel matter," school spokeswoman Savitri Belizaire confirmed yesterday.

Schools Superintendent Walter G. Amprey declined to comment last night.

The name of Willis' replacement could not be confirmed yesterday, but sources said it would be a veteran officer of the city police force.

Willis is a city police veteran who rose to the rank of major and commanded the Southwestern District before retiring.

She became acting chief of the school police force in August 1994, and in January 1995 was awarded the top job.

She inherited a department that had not had a permanent chief in four years and had dwindled through retirements and attrition to fewer than 90 active officers protecting more than 180 buildings and 100,000 students.

Department sources said the recent flap over promotions led to the decision to replace Willis.

Last month, Amprey rescinded Willis' promotions of 11 officers to the rank of sergeant.

The officers had passed the sergeant's exam and been interviewed by the school police chief.

However, some officers who competed unsuccessfully for promotion alleged afterward that favoritism affected the selections.

Some who had expected promotions but did not receive them alleged that Willis had used them to run personal errands.

With the approval of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Amprey ordered the chief to repeat the screening process for candidates who had passed the test, and officers were interviewed again.

Those interviews have been completed, and the same 11 promotions again recommended, Belizaire said.

Willis could not be reached for comment.

Pub Date: 2/14/97

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