Leopold revamps security detail, changes other staff positions

County says moves are unrelated to state prosecutor's investigation

May 14, 2011|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, who is the subject of an investigation by the state prosecutor's office into whether he misused his security detail during last year's election, has removed the officers from the detail and created a new unit to supply executive protection.

Leopold also changed the jobs of two other employees: Leopold's secretary, Patty Medlin, has been transferred to a secretarial job in governmental affairs. Sue Wilson, who was the secretary for Leopold's chief of staff, has taken Medlin's position.

The women and the officers were informed of the personnel changes Friday. Medlin and some of the officers have testified before the grand jury investigating Leopold. Dave Abrams, a spokesman for Leopold, said the moves are unrelated to the investigation. A police official also said the changes are "completely separate."

Abrams said that an aide for Alan R. Friedman, the county's director of government relations, plans to retire this summer and that Friedman "specifically requested" Medlin. The executive staff has four secretaries, Abrams said, who "rotate a lot." Wilson, in her new role as Leopold's secretary, will handle his official schedule.

Leopold has relieved the officers — three full-time and two-part time — who worked on his detail of their executive protection duties and returned them to their jobs in the police department's Intelligence Unit, county officials confirmed.

Neither the officers or their attorneys could be reached for comment. Medlin declined to comment, and Wilson could not be reached.

Leopold, a second-term Republican, has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the investigation. He has said that while recuperating from a pair of back surgeries while campaigning for re-election, he may have relied on the officers to perform tasks for him.

Last year, the officers on the detail were paid $86,000 in overtime, but Leopold has said it was related to the campaign and has significantly cut back on his use of the detail since then. The president of the county's firefighters union said in March that he had been contacted by the state prosecutor's office regarding a $4,000 donation from the firefighter's political action committee to Leopold, in the form of a check, which he said was picked up by an officer on Leopold's detail.

A copy of Leopold's schedule supplied to The Sun through an public information request showed that Leopold called upon the officers to perform myriad errands.

Col. James Teare Sr., chief of county police, announced the changes in police staffing Friday, with an eye toward making the unit more "effective and efficient."

Lt. Scott Davis, the commander of the department's Office of Professional Standards, who reports directly to Teare, will oversee the new Executive Protection Unit. Sgt. Ron Breeden will supervise the new unit's two officers, who have not yet been selected, Davis said. He said the officers chosen will have "more of a tactical background."

Davis said the changes were "completely separate from any investigation by the state prosecutor's office," but said the police department brass is still formalizing the unit's standard operating procedure "that explains what their job function is and what they're responsible to do." He added that the unit will also provide protection to visiting VIPs.

Maj. Ed Bergin, who previously supervised the security detail, remains as the commander of the Special Services Bureau, which supervises the Intelligence Unit, Davis said.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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