Balto. County Police Department names midnight shift commander

Evans, 17-year veteran of force, formerly led Internal Affairs Division

July 17, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County Police Department has tapped a 17-year veteran of the force to serve as night duty commander - the equivalent of police chief for the midnight shift.

Peter Evans, a former captain in the Internal Affairs Division, was promoted to major yesterday, but officials said he'll be the highest-ranking officer most nights.

"We're seeing more incidents at night," said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. "We need to ensure there's continuity from the department's management. We really think this is going to help with communication. Police work at night is very different than police work during the day."

Officers are assigned to the midnight shift permanently, which means they have little contact with the core of police commanders who typically work day and evening hours, Sheridan said. Without that link, those officers don't always have an opportunity to talk with department brass about problems they have on patrol, police officials say.

As night duty commander, Evans will meet frequently with night officers and will be able to respond to major incidents.

"I'll be looking at police work at night like we haven't in a long, long time," said Evans, 39, who lives in northern Baltimore County with his wife and 8-year-old daughter.

The $87,159 night commander position was cut in 1992 during a county budget crisis, said Bill Toohey, a department spokesman.

Sheridan said he and the department's three colonels have been discussing re-establishing the spot for several years.

In a county of 614 square miles, with 1,800 sworn officers, Sheridan said, "All sorts of things happen. And they often happen at night."

Sheridan said some of the most serious incidents in the county - from the Joseph C. Palczynski hostage situation two years ago to more recent police-involved shootings - started during the midnight shift.

Evans, who has worked the night shift several times in a career that has taken him to four precincts, was chosen for the job from a field of 12 police captains. He began as a patrol officer in Garrison and has worked in the county's crime lab, as a corporal in the Essex and Towson precincts, as a sergeant in Cockeysville, as a lieutenant in the personnel division and, most recently, as commander of the internal affairs section.

In addition to Evans, 22 other officers were promoted in a ceremony yesterday at the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. Among them was police spokeswoman Vickie Warehime, who was promoted from corporal to sergeant.

In September, Warehime is expected to return to the Garrison Precinct, where she started her police career in 1992.

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