Associates play down Frazier job rumors

Police leader has rejected offers, Schmoke says

August 02, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, who has led the force for more than five years, has turned down several job offers in recent months, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said last week.

Frazier has repeatedly declined to comment on speculation that he will leave his post before Schmoke leaves office in December. Many candidates seeking Schmoke's job have said they would replace the commissioner.

In an interview Wednesday, Schmoke said Frazier's job opportunities are unrelated to the mayoral campaign. He said Frazier is being sought because he heads a national police group that has provided him recognition across the country.

"He has received a number of offers, all of which he has turned down," Schmoke said. "He has responded to a number of positions, but he has told me he will let me know if he makes a final decision. This has not occurred."

Schmoke declined to name the job offers, but he said Frazier keeps him informed of every offer and opportunity.

The commissioner has met with several departments and at least one federal agency on recent trips.

Frazier, who was lured to Baltimore from California in 1994 and has a contract that pays $115,000 a year through 2002, has indicated in previous interviews his desire to remain in Baltimore.

In January 1998, Frazier said he had been approached for jobs heading police departments in Washington and Chicago. At the time, several large cities across the country had high-level openings. The commissioner declined to respond to questions about his tenure Tuesday, but he said he is tired of the rumors, which have been circulating for months.

One of his top commanders dismissed talk of Frazier leaving, particularly to head the Miami-based National Police Athletic League. Frazier has made PAL a priority but has denied interest in overseeing the 219 sanctioned PAL programs across the country.

Col. Alvin A. Winkler, who leads Baltimore's PAL program, said, "I just had a meeting with the man and we were making plans for the next four months."

Joe Wilson, executive director of National PAL, said the top position pays $85,000 a year. He called talk of Frazier taking over a "false rumor."

National PAL recently named Baltimore's program the best in the country, and Wilson said: "We would love to have someone of his caliber. Getting Tom Frazier would be like signing Cal Ripken to a contract, and we don't have the kind of money to sign Cal Ripken."

Frazier's spokesman, Robert W. Weinhold Jr., said the commissioner gets many inquiries about jobs because of his position as president of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based group that helps set crime-fighting policies for cities across the country.

"He is routinely consulted with regarding many professional opportunities on the local, state and federal levels," Weinhold said. "The commissioner has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the Baltimore Police Department."

Pub Date: 8/02/99

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