The national president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers held a press conference in Annapolis Wednesday afternoon to publicly call for the resignation of Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold and Police Chief James Teare Sr.
The union that represents the sergeants and lieutenants of the county police department had earlier called for their resignations, but re-issued the call after the state prosecutor announced that Leopold had been indicted on various counts of misconduct in office and one count of fraud.
The push for the resignations comes just weeks after the union criticized Leopold and Teare for mounting problems in the department that put it on "the verge of crisis."
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said they are demanding more details about an alleged “enemies list” held by Leopold, and accused him of violating the First Amendment.
David Holway, the union’s national president, said Leopold and Teare should step aside “in the interest of public safety and public confidence in government while the charges against Mr. Leopold are adjudicated.”
“Nowhere in the United States would a government leader be allowed to go on with business as usual after a string of indictments by a grand jury of any magnitude, never mind the mind-boggling charges leveled against Mr. Leopold,” Holway said during the conference across the street from the Arundel Center.
"I have no intention to resign," said Leopold in a statement. "This union wants pay increases at the expense of other County employees and taxpayers. I made a commitment to treat all employees equally and live within our means, and I intend to do so. The crime rate is down thanks to Chief Teare and our police officers, who are doing excellent work under trying circumstances. We hope to reward them when the economy improves."
Here are Holway’s remarks:
Any public leader whose No. 1 concern is to provide services to an electorate, would understand the deep impact these indictments have on the public’s confidence in government. Any rational leader would do what is right and pass their duties on to someone else.
No one is indispensable.
It would appear that Mr. Leopold thinks he can weather the storm and ride out the process without having to give up the perks of his office that he allegedly cherishes.
Mr. Leopold is just plain wrong. Government services are important and people do care about the integrity of those who are entrusted to deliver them.
Mr. Leopold will be too busy with his own defense to properly manage the county government. It is time for him to realize that not only is it in the county’s best interest, but in his own best interest to step aside—today.
The great women and men of the Anne Arundel Police Department also care about the integrity of their leaders. These dedicated officers who are on the streets day and night need to know that their leaders are of the same high moral fiber as they are.
On the streets, these men and women are constantly experiencing the public’s concern about what is going on. Their jobs are tough enough without this type of distraction.
Which leads us to Chief Teare. According to publishing reports, the chief was well aware of Mr. Leopold’s misuse, and indeed abuse, of his police security detail.
I am sure the chief will be on the witness list at Mr. Leopold’s trial. If there is any basis for the published reports of the chief turning a blind eye to the county administrator’s alleged shenanigans, then I say, ‘Shame on the chief.’
The chief should also do the right thing and turn in his badge if in his heart he knows his alleged cover-up is indeed true.
Both of these leaders should do what is right by the public they are sworn to serve and step aside.