3 police workers face charges in gun incident Weapon was found on theft suspect at Arundel jail

May 12, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Three Anne Arundel County police employees face punishment for letting a suspected thief, who should have been searched at least twice, enter the detention center in March apparently carrying a loaded semiautomatic weapon, police said.

Officer Carol Frye, a police spokeswoman, said the punishment for violating administrative procedures could range from a letter of reprimand to dismissal.

The employees could accept the punishment or appeal to a trial board of three officers.

Frye said she could not identify the employees, confirm whether they are officers or release any details of the internal investigation that led the police force to file administrative charges against the employees yesterday.

"If they take it to a trial board, it's like going to a trial," Frye said. "That's why we can't be more specific."

The internal investigation began after officers at the detention center on Jennifer Road found the gun the morning of March 23 on Andrew J. Hurajt III, police said. The 23-year-old suspect had been brought to the center in Parole more than 12 hours after an off-duty police officer arrested him on charges of trying to steal a video camera, police said.

According to court documents, Cpl. Gregory Leonard Lane arrested Hurajt just before 4 p.m. March 22 in the Sears store at Parole Plaza and took him to the Southern District station.

Hurajt was held at the station for several hours before another police officer took him to the District Court commissioner in Annapolis for an initial hearing, police said.

Protection officers from Wackenhut Corp., a company under county contract to transport inmates, took Hurajt to the detention center just before 5 a.m., police said.

Guards discovered the gun at midmorning, shortly before a bail-review hearing, said Richard Baker, superintendent of detention facilities.

Authorities would not say how the gun was found.

Police spokesman Lt. Jeff Kelly said in March that police procedure requires officers to search suspects after making arrests and that before a suspect is taken anywhere, "whoever is doing the transportation is directed to conduct a search."

Frye said the employees were informed yesterday morning that administrative charges had been filed against them.

Baker said the detention center investigated the incident in March and that a detention officer soon left. The superintendent would not say whether the officer resigned or was fired, or whether charges had been brought against him.

"It's a personnel matter I can't discuss," Baker said. "The employee no longer works here."

Patrick Cannan, a spokesman for Wackenhut Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., could not be reached for comment.

Pub Date: 5/12/98

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