Daniel to appoint 2nd deputy chief

Richard P. Rieman, retired lieutenant, to serve as adviser

Pressure for changes

January 11, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A retired police lieutenant who is an attorney with a downtown law firm has been tapped as the second and final deputy chief to serve as a top adviser and key strategist for Baltimore's new police commissioner.

Richard P. Rieman Jr. will be named deputy commissioner of administration at a news conference today, department sources said. City officials also will announce Edward T. Norris, a top New York police commander, to serve as deputy commissioner of operations.

The two appointees round out Commissioner Ronald L. Daniel's top command staff and fulfill a promise he made when he was chosen as the department's leader to streamline the command structure.

Former Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, who abolished the deputy commissioner positions, had as many as 14 majors and colonels reporting directly to his office.

Rieman, 44, was born in Baltimore and graduated from Northern High School. He joined the city police force as a cadet in 1973, two days after his 18th birthday, and became an officer in 1977. He retired in 1993 to become a lawyer.

Daniel, a career city officer who was appointed to the top post Jan. 3 and must be confirmed by the City Council, is working fast to implement change. He is under pressure to quickly reduce crime and homicides.

"The commissioner is under the gun to get things moving," said City Council President Sheila Dixon, the city's second-highest elected official. "He doesn't have a lot of time to play with. Bringing in people who have experience in turning over other systems is a good move."

Norris' name emerged over the weekend. The 19-year veteran of the New York Police Department rose quickly from a patrolman on 42nd Street in Times Square to the rank of deputy commissioner for operations of the 40,000-member department.

It was unclear which specific police operations each appointee will oversee on Baltimore's 3,200-member force.

Norris was the New York department's chief crime strategist whose ideas have helped knock homicides from more than 2,200 in 1990 to under 700 last year.

Rieman will be in charge of Baltimore's administrative functions, which include hiring, discipline and training. "He has an analytical mind," said Col. Bert Shirey, who once supervised Rieman. "He was very competent in everything he did."

Daniel knew Rieman during their days in patrol. The commissioner declined to discuss his choices -- neither of whom could be reached for comment yesterday -- but he announced their names to top commanders yesterday.

Officials said many details still need to be worked out, including starting dates and salaries. Norris earned $126,000 a year in New York, more than the $115,000 base salary for the commissioner's job in Baltimore.

Mayor Martin O'Malley has said he would like to increase Daniel's salary, but no request has been made to the Board of Estimates, which would have to approve a raise. Dixon said Norris would be paid $120,000 a year in Baltimore.

Both Rieman and Norris would also earn retirement pay from their respective police departments. Rieman spent 20 years on the city force, giving him full retirement benefits equal to half his salary. His salary when he retired could not be determined yesterday, but a typical lieutenant earned between $45,000 and $50,000 in 1993.

The swift moves by Daniel fuel speculation at downtown headquarters and in the district stations about further moves. The appointments come days after three colonels announced their retirements.

Shirey, chief of patrol, said the department's structure is going back to a more traditional setup.

"The organization has to fit the personality of the person in charge," Shirey said. "I'm very comfortable with what I see with this proposed administration."

Little could be learned yesterday about Rieman beyond the department's biography, last updated in 1993, and public documents related to his law career. He held several jobs as a police officer, patrolling the western and southeastern districts and in the vice squad.

He has eight commendations, but details were not available. His vice squad unit was awarded a citation in 1981 for leading the city in criminal summonses and citations for liquor board violations.

Rieman began studying law at the University of Baltimore while on the city force. He was comments editor for the law review in 1991 and graduated with honors in 1992. He was admitted to the Maryland and District of Columbia bars the same year.

He is an associate with the downtown firm of Kollman & Sheehan in the Sun Life Building on South Charles Street. A secretary said employees had been instructed not to comment, and it could not be learned yesterday whether Rieman had resigned or taken a leave of absence to take the police position.

The firm practices general litigation including labor law, construction law, occupational safety and health law.

One of the firm's partners, Francis R. Laws, represented Daniel in 1997 when he was ousted from headquarters for calling Frazier a racist and assigned to a small City Hall office. Daniel had threatened to sue over the reassignment but changed his mind.

In 1997, Rieman represented Denny's restaurant after it was sued by four waitresses who alleged they were sexually harassed. The case did not go to trial and the outcome was not made public.

Attorney Clifford L. Hardwick, who represented the women, said Rieman was "a worthy adversary, an honest person and a gentleman."

Sun staff writer Caitlin Francke contributed to this article.

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