Norris sworn in as chief

`Cop's cop' takes oath as head of state police

March 15, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Calling him a "cop's cop," Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. administered the oath of office yesterday to Col. Edward T. Norris, the 61st superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

"What do I mean by cop's cop? He's someone who understands what cops do and stands by them," Ehrlich said. "He's aggressive. I like that. He's confident. He's intelligent. And he's loyal. This is a great day for our administration. It's a great day for the state of Maryland.

Ehrlich said he was somewhat surprised to be swearing in Norris, because he hadn't been sure Norris would be willing to give up his job as police commissioner in Baltimore to take the state job. But the governor said he was glad to learn Norris wanted the challenge because the administration has laid out ambitious goals for the state police in providing security against terrorists.

"Homeland defense has never been more important," said Ehrlich. "Past superintendents didn't have to worry about this issue the way we do today."

Norris, a veteran New York City police commander who is credited with reducing violent crime in Baltimore, said, "I think this is the most important time to be the police."

In his address at state police headquarters in Pikesville, Ehrlich took a jab at legislators who earlier this week defeated his nomination for environmental secretary.

"This used to be a state where the governor could pick his Cabinet," he said, noting that Norris' appointment was confirmed by the state Senate last month.

Although Norris' use of a discretionary fund during his tenure in Baltimore is under investigation by a federal grand jury, Ehrlich told reporters: "He has my support 1 million percent."

"I won't let you down," Norris told the troopers. "Never, ever forget how lucky we are to serve in these uniforms."

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