2 senior police officials confirm resignations

Departures among series of leadership changes

April 12, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Two high-ranking Baltimore police veterans confirmed yesterday that they are retiring from the force -- moves that union officials and some commanders have called major losses for the department.

Deputy Commissioner John McEntee, a 30-year veteran who oversaw day-to-day operations, said he was retiring because "it was just a good time."

"I don't think there is anything more I can do with the transition," McEntee said, adding that his retirement will allow him to spend more time with his two young sons. His last day on the job was yesterday.

McEntee, 48, briefly served as acting commissioner after the abrupt resignation of Edward T. Norris in December. McEntee was reassigned to the No. 2 job after Mayor Martin O'Malley hired Kevin P. Clark as commissioner in late January.

Chief of Patrol George Klein, 50, announced his intention to retire next month.

A former district commander and head of the city's Warrant Apprehension Task Force, Klein joined the force in 1973 and was appointed chief of patrol by McEntee in January.

"I'm just at the point where I want to do something different," Klein said yesterday.

Yesterday's announcements are the latest in a series of changes to the top ranks of the department. Since late March, Clark has shuffled the command staff twice -- moving 19 commanders to new jobs. He has also hired two former New York police officers to command major divisions within the force.

The moves have caused some anxiety among the rank-and-file, according to union officials. Dan Fickus, the president of the city police union, said the retirements of McEntee and Klein were a "devastating" blow to the agency.

Clark, in a written statement, said, "Although both will be missed, the leadership of the department is unified and vibrant and the needs of the citizens of Baltimore, as well as those of the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department, will continue to be of paramount importance."

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