New chief of police named

Mount Airy native Spaulding appointed

`He impressed us all'

Will leave Howard force

due to take over in Jan.

Westminster

December 03, 2003|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A 30-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department has been tapped to be Westminster's new police chief, city officials announced yesterday.

Maj. William J. Spaulding, 49, a Mount Airy native who is one of two deputy police chiefs in Howard County, beat out more than 60 other candidates to be selected to head Carroll County's largest municipal police force.

He will continue to work in Howard County, where he oversees the administrative functions of that department, until Dec. 31. Two days later, he will take over the top spot in the Westminster department.

"I feel like I can bring a fresh perspective to Westminster," said Spaulding, who visited the city yesterday to meet with municipal officials. But first, he said, he is going to take some time to learn about the department and the community.

"I want to get my feet wet, but I don't want to make a splash without a firm grasp on the organization," he said in a telephone interview last night.

Of Spaulding's selection to the $82,000-a-year job, Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff said, "We're going to be the envy of the entire state."

"The one thing that we're extraordinarily excited about is, with Chief Spaulding we're going to significantly add to the leadership pool in a continuing attempt to change the culture of government and further the cause of community outreach and community policing," said Dayhoff, who made the appointment.

Spaulding's selection is expected to be confirmed next week by Westminster's Common Council.

Spaulding joined Howard County's police department as a cadet in 1973, five days after he graduated from Glenelg High School.

He served as a patrol officer and detective before filling a series of supervisory positions in specialized units. As head of the vice and narcotics section, he targeted prostitution.

He also was commander of the northern patrol district before supervising about 300 officers as the deputy chief of police for operations. Last year, he assumed command of the administrative side of the department, dealing with education, training, budgets, fleet equipment, 911 and animal control.

As he rose through the ranks, Spaulding also received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in management from the Johns Hopkins University, according to yesterday's announcement.

"He impressed us all," said Damian L. Halstad, Westminster Common Council president and a member of the committee that whittled away 68 applications before deciding on Spaulding. "He's top-notch. He has experience and energy and a commitment to community policing."

Spaulding reached out to Howard County groups, serving on the management team of the Howard County Child Advocacy Center and on the executive committee of the Family and Sexual Violence Council for Howard County.

"He likes to be out in the town watching what's happening - key for a police chief," Halstad said. "He's extremely well-respected, with very strong references that sang his praises. I think he's just what we need."

Dayhoff's appointment of Spaulding to head the 43-member police force comes at the end of a four-month search and interview process that included a committee heavy on local law enforcement officials and a separate group of residents who weighed in on the candidates in closed meetings this month.

The mayor is to present Spaulding for the city council's confirmation at the panel's meeting Monday. Maj. Dean A. Brewer has been acting chief of the force since August, when Roger G. Joneckis retired as chief after 29 years with the department.

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