City schools name police chief

Former state delegate Goodwin quits City Council race, says he `prayed hard' for job

August 31, 2007|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,Sun Reporter

The Baltimore school board has named a former state delegate who was running for a seat on the City Council as its new school police chief.

Marshall "Toby" Goodwin, 50, has withdrawn from the 7th District council race and is urging voters to support the incumbent, Councilwoman Belinda K. Conaway. Conaway also works for the city school system, as a teacher and counselor, though she is currently on leave.

Goodwin was appointed to the House of Delegates in December 2003 to replace the late Howard P. Rawlings, beating out Rawlings' son, Wendell, for the position. He lost in the primary when running for election last fall.

A West Baltimore native, Goodwin has served since 2003 as assistant public safety director at Baltimore City Community College. He spent more than two decades in the Baltimore City sheriff's office, running unsuccessfully for sheriff in the 1980s. He is a graduate of Edmondson High School, Sojourner-Douglass College and what is now Coppin State University. He graduated in 2000 from the National FBI Academy, which trains participants to lead law enforcement agencies.

Goodwin said he had been looking for an opportunity to lead a police department when the vacancy in the city schools came up.

"I applied, studied the [school system's] master plan," he said. "I prayed hard. I went in and I presented the best appearance that I could give to the men and women of the panel. I am a committed soul who believes in the city, believes in the community."

As school police chief, Goodwin will oversee 117 sworn officers (20 of the positions are currently vacant), plus 75 hall monitors and 32 resource officers. He replaces Antonio Williams, who resigned in April to become chief of the police department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

In February, a plan to merge the school police force with the larger Baltimore Police Department was publicly supported by Mayor Sheila Dixon but blocked by the school board, which has authority over the school police.

Goodwin said his priorities include familiarizing his staff with the school system's new safety plan and recruiting new officers.

"It's very tough recruiting in law enforcement today," he said. "With a small salary, it's tough to get certain certified candidates. Once you get them on board, they stay with you maybe two or three years and then they go to the highest bidder. Law enforcement becomes a bidding war."

The safety plan includes initiatives to combat gangs. "Members of the school system should understand the nuances of what's happening in the city in terms of gangs," Goodwin said.

He will report to Bennie E. Williams, the new chief of staff to Chief Executive Officer Andres Alonso. Previously, the school police chief had reported to the system's chief operating officer.

Goodwin said he wants to see his officers working with community leaders and businesses to improve safety as kids go to and from school. He wants to see them developing relationships with students.

And he wants to work collaboratively not only with the city police, but also potentially with the city's correctional facilities. "What happens in the jails comes to the streets, and ultimately comes back to the schools," he said.

System officials said Goodwin's salary will be $115,000. A Baltimore resident, he is married with one daughter, five stepchildren and one granddaughter, named Toby after him.

sara.neufeld@baltsun.com

Read The Sun education blog at www.baltimoresun.com/classroom

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