City-owned security equipment removed from Dixon's home

Police, inspector general removed equipment in November

May 25, 2011|By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police removed $12,000 worth of city-owned security equipment from former Mayor Sheila Dixon's home last fall after several attempts to reclaim the gear, the city's inspector general announced Wednesday.

Inspector General David McClintock said he received an anonymous tip in September that the security cameras — routinely installed on the homes of sitting mayors — remained at Dixon's house in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood of Hunting Ridge.

McClintock said police had attempted to remove the equipment before his office learned of it, but he did not have more specific information about the attempts. Police removed the cameras in November, he said.

Reached by phone, Dixon said she had no desire to keep the equipment, and that she would have given it back sooner if she could have disconnected it herself.

"You know the city — how slow they are," said Dixon. "I couldn't take it down myself."

She said that a police officer, who had formerly been assigned to guard her, first contacted her about getting back the equipment in August or September, months after she left office.

"It was a matter of coordinating between the Police Department and some of my former staff," she said.

Dixon, who said she was in New York for her daughter's college graduation, questioned why the inspector general's office was announcing the removal the equipment six months after it occurred.

McClintock said that his office recently completed an administrative review of the policy for reclaiming equipment from former city officials. Receiving the equipment from Dixon was the first part of that effort, he said.

"We formalized the process of getting the equipment returned," he said.

When Martin O'Malley left the mayor's office to become governor, he returned the security equipment that had been installed at his Baltimore home, according to the news release.

Dixon resigned in February 2010 as part of a plea agreement to settle charges of embezzlement and perjury. The cameras were turned off when she left office, she said.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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