Arundel council commends police, not chief, for drop in crime

Resolution passes after amendment strips Teare's name from language

May 21, 2012|By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

The Anne Arundel County Council passed a resolution Monday night commending the county police department — but not its chief — for decreasing crime in 2011.

The council passed the resolution only after approving an amendment specifically removing Police Chief James E. Teare Sr.'s name from the language.

The councilmanic move follows another council resolution last month expressing no confidence in Teare. The council said it is concerned with Teare's ability to lead the police department in light of certain allegations in the March indictment of County Executive John R. Leopold.

The indictment says Leopold used his taxpayer-funded security detail for personal and political tasks, which Leopold has said he is innocent of. It also says Teare knew about the allegations against Leopold and took "no effective action."

Councilman John Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican who voted against the no-confidence vote, introduced the resolution May 7 to commend Teare and the county police force for an 8.7 percent drop in county crime in 2011 in part to counterbalance the no-confidence vote, he said.

"If you're going to turn around and beat the chief down and call a no-confidence vote, well then let's talk about the accomplishments," Grasso said. "Judge a person on the results."

Councilman Peter Smith, a Severn Democrat, met Grasso's resolution with an amendment to strip Teare's name from the resolution, and three other councilmen — Jerry Walker, a Gambrills Republican; Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat; and Richard B. "Dick Ladd, a Broadneck Republican — voted with him to pass it.

Smith, Walker and Benoit had all voted for the no-confidence resolution as well. Ladd had voted against it.

Councilman Chris Trumbauer, an Annapolis Democrat who voted for the no-confidence resolution, voted against Smith's amendment and Grasso's resolution.

Walker said Grasso's resolution was a "politically motivated" effort to praise Teare that would have confused county residents.

"In one month we say we've got no confidence in the chief, and then the next month we pass a resolution that says, 'Good job chief!'?" Walker asked. "It sends a mixed message."

Front line officers are doing a good job in the county, but crime is down nationally, Walker said, and Teare shouldn't be credited with causing the same to occur locally.

"Really, I don't believe he has a whole lot of control over it," Walker said.

Teare could not be reached for comment late Monday.

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