The Anne Arundel County Police Department got a political pat on the back Monday night for lowering the crime rate, but the county police chief's name was removed from the congratulatory message.
The resolution commending the department for lowering the crime rate for four years straight, down to 8.7 percent in 2011, came from Councilman John Grasso (R-2nd District) of Glen Burnie. His original resolution specifically named Police Chief James Teare, Sr., crediting him with the decrease in crime (see attached PDF).
Teare was subpoenaed by the council in March for questioning related to circumstances surrounding the grand jury investigation of County Executive John R. Leopold.
After Teare refused to answer most questions, Deputy Chief Emerson Davis attended the next council meeting and answered their questions, calling the department mired in dysfunction, stemming from leadership problems in the police administration.
Grasso said employees will always complain about their bosses, and that shouldn’t overshadow good results shown in the statistics of the department.
"If we're going to turn around and beat on the chief for his so-called lack of leadership of the police department, then maybe we should also commend him and the police department for his good leadership in showing us results," Grasso said.
But an amendment by Councilman Peter Smith (D-1st District) of Severn on Monday night removed all mentions of Teare.
"While I'm grateful the police department has done their part on reducing crime, I think to sort of confuse that with Chief Teare I think would do the bill injustice,” Smith said. “To politicize it, for lack of a better term, is probably not the best thing we can do as a council.”
Councilmen Chris Trumbauer (D-6th District) of Annapolis, Derek Fink (R-3rd District) of Pasadena, and Grasso voted against the amendment to the resolution, but it passed narrowly by a 4-3 vote.
The full resolution was then approved by a 6-1 vote with only Trumbauer dissenting.