Owens taps ex-chief for panel on police Transition committee to study performance, budget of department

November 15, 1998|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Janet S. Owens on Friday named former county police Chief Robert Russell as co-chair of her committee studying changes in the Police Department, fueling talk among officers that he might push one of his former allies as the new chief.

Among the names mentioned as possibly receiving a lift from Russell is Capt. Timothy Bowman, a county police supervisor and friend of Russell, according to police and county government sources.

However, William Chaney, a leader of Owens' transition team, said the committee is being created to review the performance and budget of the Police Department, not to recommend personnel.

Owens will make a decision about the police chief's job independent of Russell's committee, said Chaney, treasurer of Owens' campaign. She will be inaugurated Dec. 7, but has not set a deadline for her decision about the police chief.

"It's amazing the rumors that you hear," Chaney said. "The truth is that Mrs. Owens has not said that anybody's going to go or that anybody's going to be replaced."

Police Chief Larry Tolliver, appointed by County Executive John LTC G. Gary in February 1997, said Friday that he would like to remain in the job to continue his "zero tolerance" drug enforcement policy and other programs.

Most county executives select a new police chief when they take office.

Tolliver said he is not "intimidated" that his department's performance will be critiqued by Russell, a career Anne Arundel officer who stepped down after Gary took office.

"I am very interested in staying, but I am also well aware that I serve at the pleasure of the county executive," Tolliver said. "I've heard some of those other names being mentioned out there, and they are all quality people."

Other names discussed as likely candidates for the chief's job include: Edgar Koch, director of the Baltimore Police Crime Laboratory Division and a former Anne Arundel County deputy chief; retired Anne Arundel Capt. Michael Fitzgibbons; retired Lt. Michael McNelly, a member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education; and Capt. Thomas Shanahan.

'Highly regarded'

Former County Executive Robert R. Neall said Friday that Russell, who served as chief during Neall's term from 1990 to 1994, would do an excellent job of recommending improvements to the Police Department.

"He did a great job as police chief. He ran the department during very lean times, and he was very highly regarded by his officers," Neall said.

The two other members of the committee studying possible improvements to public safety are Col. Ron Daniels of the Baltimore Police Department and Roger Simmonds, former deputy chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Transition committees

Other transition committees announced by Owens on Friday include: A land-use committee, to be co-chaired by Charles Lamb, an architect with RTKL Associates, and John Warner, a vice president of County National Bank.

An education committee, to be co-chaired by Dorothy Dixon Chaney, a member of the state Board of Education and sister-in-law of William Chaney, and Charles LoCasio, executive director of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, which supported Owens in the election.

A parks and recreation committee, to be co-chaired by William Rinehart, a former director of the county's parks department, and Beebe Castro, a former supervisor with the department.

A committee that will focus on relations between Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, to be co-chaired by Carl O. Snowden, former Annapolis alderman, and Robert Agee, chief of staff for former County Executive O. James Lighthizer during the 1980s.

A human services committee, to be co-chaired by Dr. Kenneth Hoffman, an Annapolis pediatrician, and Linda Gilligan, former director of finance for the University of Maryland Medical System.

Pub Date: 11/15/98

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