Experts cast doubt on psychological evaluations for Md. police

By: Bryan P. Sears Daily Record Business Writer November 24, 2015

Improved supervision and training may improve policing more than mandatory psychological evaluations of officers, according to two experts.

The testimony before the Public Safety and Policing Workgroup cast some doubt on efforts to require additional mandatory psychological testing of police officers. Some members of the panel said there is no consensus on what such a recommendation would look like.

“This is all about the failure to supervise at all levels,” said Stephen F. Curran, a psychologist with a specialty background in police and public safety, in discussing shortcomings in police performance. “It’s the failure to take disciplinary action — to hold people accountable. That’s the push.”

Curran was one of two experts to testify Tuesday at Morgan State University before the work group. The legislative panel is expected to meet one more time in early December before making recommendations on as many as six bills focused on changing policing in the state.

There are about 70 psychologists certified in the specialty of police and public safety, according to Curran, who said he is the only one with such credentials in the state.

Hamin Shabazz, chairman of the Criminal Justice Department at Stevenson University and a former police officer in Camden, New Jersey, said most police departments already test recruits, though there is no consistency in terms of which test is used.

“I would say to you that the problems that law enforcement is experiencing in the state of Maryland as well as the United States is based on training,” said Shabazz. “That is where I think the solutions will be.”

Many agencies also have periodic exams to test fitness for duty. As legislators consider the possibility of requiring mandatory psychological evaluations, some have raised the question of costs, which are estimated to be between $3 million to $5 million annually statewide.

“My position on retesting is that I think it would be a waste of resources,” Shabazz said. “The average cost of an exam is about $300 (per officer).”

The work group is one of three taking up police and criminal justice issues before the General Assembly convenes in January. Other panels are looking at body cameras or at how to lower the rates of incarceration and recidivism in Maryland.

The panel was created earlier this year by House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. in the aftermath of the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a west Baltimore man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody.

Since its first meeting in June, the group has looked at issues including hiring practices, diversity within police departments and additional, mandatory periodic psychological evaluations of police officers.

Still, some members of the panel say testing can play an important role in determining if an officer can adequately perform his or her duties.

“Inadequate testing is what we’ve also got,” said Sen. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore City, referring to part of Shabazz’s testimony. “There’s an inconsistency across the board, and regulations need to be changed. We don’t really have professionals who are doing this testing, that’s my understanding. With 17,000 police officers we certainly can’t have one person providing psychological testing.”

Del. Brett R. Wilson, R-Washington County, said there is no consensus on the panel to require testing and said any such recommendation would have to contain specific guidance on what circumstances would trigger an evaluation.

“There’s a clear difference regarding when it should be administered and how it should be triggered,” said Wilson, who is also an assistant state’s attorney in his home county. “We’ve heard talk that after any traumatic event, from an accident where a child dies all the way up to instance where there is an excessive force brutality case, there’s no consensus right now. There’s a gut feeling that testing of a person that could indicate a problem could prevent a bigger problem. I don’t know if we got a clear answer on that specific issue from the experts.”

FOP Lodge #4 Election Results 2015

Below are the results of the 2015 elections for FOP Lodge #4. Officers will be sworn into office in December and will serve a term of 2 years. This year we had a total of 1210 ballots returned.  Congratulation to the winners and all those who participated and voted this year.

President – Cole Weston -(unopposed)
1st VP – Steven Comegna – (unopposed)
2nd VP – David Rose – (unopposed)
Treasurer – Bob Caskey – (unopposed)
State Trustee – Don Patterson – (unopposed)

Donna Patterson – 821

Kathryn Greenbeck – 249
Bryn Blackburn – 108

Tony DiCara – 665

Rob Graff – 465

Sergeant at Arms
Ryan Massey – 694

Mike Greco – 478

Executive Board of Directors
Mike DiCara – 900
Kathy Kraemer – 883
Tom Scally – 880
Jim Rommel – 873
Dave Sweren – 587
Pat Zito – 544
Sekou Hinton – 361
Doug Jess – 307









The Baltimore Sun Analysis of the L.E.O.B.R. is Incorrect

On October 26, 2015 The Baltimore Sun published an editorial titled Disciplining Bad Cops . The editorial touched on two sections of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill f Rights (L.E.O.B.R.). In the first part they write about the provision that allows an officer 10 days to get representation before being interviewed in an administrative investigation. Stating, “Nevertheless, the 10-day rule fosters a perception that officers are above the law and are afforded protections the rest of us are not.”

When one looks as to why that provision of the L.E.O.B.R. is in place, one finds that it is based upon a decision of the United States Supreme Court. In the United States Supreme Court case of National Labor Relations Board v Weingarten 1975, the Justices opined that when an employee, who is represented by a labor organization, requests an attorney or other representation, an employer has three options:
1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives;
2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
3. Give the employee a choice of: (a) having the interview without representation or (b) ending the interview.
If the employer denies the request for union representation and continues the meeting, the employee can refuse to answer questions.

Under Maryland’s L.E.O.B.R., if an officer does not have representation available within the 10 days, the officer forfeits the right to representation and can be compelled to answer all questions. Any refusal may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Under Weingarten, there is no ten (10) day limit for other employees. The ten (10) days in the L.E.O.B.R. is a deadline for the officer, not the agency. The L.E.O.B.R. actually takes a right away from an officer that is afforded to everyone else but grants the officer sufficient time to obtain representation.

The author also touches upon a section of the L.E.O.B.R. that refers to allegations of excessive force or brutality being filed within 90 days. Stating, “Moreover, even if there were no waiting period before department investigators can question officers accused of misconduct, they are still barred from examining allegations of brutality that are more than 90 days old. As a result, bad officers can escape consequences even after commanders become aware of their misconduct.”

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled on this issue in Baltimore City Police Department v. Michael Andrew in 1989. In the decision the Court states in part “This language may be seen as designed to protect officers against frivolous complaints via the oath requirement, but it certainly is no statute of limitations.” “But what the statutory language, consistent with the legislative history, bars is further investigation or proceedings in a brutality matter at the behest of the complainant, if the complaint has not been filed within 90 days. It does not bar further proceedings if the police agency, on its own initiative, decides to conduct an investigation or press charges.” “Thus, the available history demonstrates that the last sentence of § 728(b)(4) was designed to operate as a statute of limitations. This approach is consistent with the notion of protecting police officers from irresponsible or frivolous complaints of brutality. It also is consistent with the general goals of the LEOBR.”

“In other words, when a qualified complainant files a sworn brutality complaint within the 90-day period, the police agency has a duty to proceed with an investigation. If that same complainant files a sworn complaint more than 90 days after the incident of alleged brutality, there is no duty to investigate. But if the police agency decides on its own to proceed with the investigation (and with the placing of charges if the investigation so indicates), § 728(b)(4) does not prevent it from doing so.”

In summary, Police agencies in Maryland can, in fact, investigate allegations of excessive force and brutality that have been filed after the 90 days if the agency head chooses to proceed on its own initiative.

Employment Opportunity- Towson University Communications Operators

The Towson University Police Department is currently hiring for police communications operators within our communications center. This would be a great job for a retiree or someone looking to get into police communications. If you could please post this to your site, it would be appreciated. I will attach both the link and the text of the job announcement.


Please feel free to contact me should you have any additional questions,

Sgt. John A. Ross
Towson University Police Department
Communications Sergeant



FOP Calls on Members to Boycott Tarantino

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, called on the organization’s members to boycott Mr. Quentin Tarantino’s film, The Hateful Eight, which is scheduled to be released later this year. In addition, the FOP is advising its members not to accept assignments or perform off-duty work, such as providing security, traffic control or technical assistance to any project involving Mr. Tarantino.

“For a man who has built his career on glorifying criminal violence, we take great offense to his recent comments calling law enforcement officers ‘murderers’ just days after an actual murder of a New York City Police Officer,” Canterbury said.

The FOP has urged its 2300 lodges and 330,000 members to boycott Mr. Tarantino’s latest project in reaction to his inflammatory remarks describing law enforcement officers as “murderers” while attending an anti-police rally. Canterbury sent a letter to the Weinstein Company informing them of the reasons the FOP would be boycotting the film.

“If Mr. Tarantino truly wished to be on “the side of the murdered,” he would speak in defense of Officer Holder and the 37 other law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2015. Thirty-eight dead police officers may not be much of a body count for a Tarantino film, but to the brave men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police, it is far too many,” Canterbury said.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.

National FOP President Chuck Canterbury’s Response to FBI Director Comey

Why FBI Director Comey is wrong

Recently FBI Director Comey, who by the way has never served as a law enforcement officer, again made statements that I feel just do not meet the smell test.

In February of this year, Director Comey made the following remarks about law enforcement.

Comey, who has held the FBI’s top post since 2013, said police officers should acknowledge the “widespread existence of unconscious bias.”

Comey speaking after Ferguson asserted that there is wide spread existence of unconscious bias in law enforcement and that that is what is causing a distrust between communities and their law enforcement officers. I reject this claim and again reiterate that when law enforcement is the only part of government that citizens see, we become the focus of community mistrust. When politicians use their police to deal with years of inequities and urban blight and do nothing to try to build a better life for their citizens, then it is them who have failed their citizens not the police who must deal with all of the issues without the support of their governing bodies.

We know that daily law enforcement is called on to reduce crime “for the quality of life” but that the underlying causes are not addressed the community cannot improve unless the social issues are addressed as well. When law enforcement is the only government representatives that a community sees we become the face of the enemy.

Many of us in Law Enforcement have been saying and will continue to say that the mistrust with Government starts at a much higher level and that the major issue and common denominator in communities that have trust issues is poverty.

Director Comey, we do know what’s going on in neighborhoods that mistrust law enforcement, because we are the only ones doing anything to help these communities.

In Chicago earlier this week, Comey again addressed a forum at the University of Chicago and in my mind and surprisingly in President Obama’s mind, blamed Law Enforcement for the uptick in violent crime. Here is a quote from Comey’s talk at the University of Chicago.

“On Monday, FBI director James Comey reiterated that the rise of violent crime in certain cities may be a result of less aggressive policing due to increased scrutiny of officers in the wake of recent high-profile police killings of black men”.

First and foremost people who break the law cause crime. Are police officers dealing with anxiety and stress over the lack of public support, absolutely but to blame the rise in crime on officer’s behavior is just not grounded in fact and is wrong.

Police officers have not stopped responding to calls especially high priority calls that involve violence and this is evidenced with the fact that thirty-two police officers have been killed by firearms already this year, doesn’t sound to me like law enforcement is not doing their jobs. Reductions in public contacts are more the result of less police on the street than it is on officers being reluctant to act.

Governments have as a result of high profiled incidents backed police off of doing their jobs. They have stopped preventive patrols, they have reduced the number of officers on the street and they have given orders as was evident in Baltimore for officers to disengage from people committing criminal acts. These are the reasons we are seeing a spike in violent crime along with the failure of government to address the real issue and that is the abject poverty that many Americans suffer from. It is my assertion that until the Governments of our jurisdictions acknowledge that Law Enforcement cannot fix failed neighborhoods by themselves, we will continue to suffer from mistrust.

Employment Opportunity

The University of Baltimore is recruiting for:

University Police Officer II – MPO

Section Chief, Law Enforcement Services

Both URLs show vacancy announcements and information about applying.  Please share our vacancy announcements.

Thank You,

Patrice Mason
Recruitment Leader, Human Resources, University of Baltimore

Cold Case Investigator with the Howard County Police Department:

The Howard County Police Department is seeking an experienced professional to investigate unsolved major crimes. Responsibilities include locating past and potential witnesses, suspects, investigators, and other persons of interest, assisting with the review and identification of physical evidence, conducting interviews and writing reports, and providing court testimony.

Requires a High School diploma or GED equivalent, prior law enforcement experience, preferably in homicide and violent crime investigations. Must possess excellent interview and interrogation skills and proficiency with computers and criminal databases, i.e., MILES and NCIC.

If interested please click on the below link and scroll down to Contingent Professional (Cold Case Investigator)

Employment Opportunity: Section Chief of Safety Programs


MHSO is Hiring for a
Section Chief of Safety Programs
The Maryland Highway Safety Office is recruiting for a Safety Programs Section Chief Position, located within the Maryland Department of Transportation’s, Motor Vehicle Administration.  The position description is included in this email.  The position is being run through the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy.  Please click on the link below to apply:

If you have any questions, about the position, you may contact Dana Gigliotti at at the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

Section Chief, Safety Programs
Schaefer Center for Public Policy

Vacancy Number 300579
Position Type: Regular exempt grant-funded position with benefits package
Opens: 07/07/77     Closes: 11/24/15
Salary: $68,500 to $75,000
Note: Position is grant-funded through September 30, 2016 with expected annual renewals thereafter, but renewals are contingent on the availability of grant funds. Position requires the ability to work a flexible schedule with some evening and weekend travel.
Worksite Location:    Maryland Highway Safety Office
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
1 Orchard Rd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21060
Section Chief, Safety Programs
Schaefer Center for Public Policy
Vacancy Number 300579
Position Type: Regular exempt grant-funded position with benefits package

Opens: 07/07/77     Closes: 11/24/15
Salary: $68,500 to $75,000

Note: Position is grant-funded through September 30, 2016 with expected annual renewals thereafter, but renewals are contingent on the availability of grant funds. Position requires the ability to work a flexible schedule with some evening and weekend travel.

Worksite Location: Maryland Highway Safety Office
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
1 Orchard Rd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21060

The University of Baltimore is seeking a Section Chief for the Safety Programs Section at the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO), a division of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The Safety Programs Section’s goal is to reduce traffic related fatalities, injuries and crashes by acting as subject matter experts for specific highway safety program areas in an effort to provide leadership in highway safety and technical assistance to partners. The Safety Program Section accomplishes this goal by keeping abreast of current trends and developments in specific program areas, developing key relationships, overseeing the state’s performance measure’s goals and objectives, selecting evidence based countermeasures that help the state’s safety problems and meet the performance goals and objectives.

The Safety Programs Section Chief manages and directs the operations of the Safety Program Section, providing the day-to-day administration of the program and overseeing the work of five (5) Program Managers.  The position is responsible for overseeing statewide media projects and the statewide grants their team manages.  The Safety Program’s Section Chief is part of MHSO’s management team and directly reports to the Deputy Chief.

Key Responsibilities
Manages the activities of the Safety Programs Section including:
•    Provides staff supervision to the Safety Programs Section
•    Establishes priorities, coordinates activities, provides guidance, and directs and participates in the development of programs
•    Monitors section activities to ensure the section is operating in an efficient and effective manner
•    Establishes policies and procedures relating to the Safety Programs Section
•    Assists with the statewide staff activities for Data Analysis, Impairing Driving, Occupant Protection, Distracted Driving, Older and Younger Drivers, Pedestrians, Aggressive Driving, Motorcycle Safety Programs and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan
•    Participates in the oversight of Maryland’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan and Emphasis Area Teams
•    Participates in the budgeting of $9 – $13M dollars annually of the Safety Programs team and works to forecast and prioritize programs based on availability of funds and problem identification

Conducts monitoring and evaluation of grant related programs to determine if they are impacting the problem areas identified

Participates in the development, implementation and evaluation of the state wide programs annual performance based Highway Safety Plan (HSP) in accordance with the Federal requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Manages and directs special projects as assigned by the MHSO Chief and Deputy Chief.

Minimum Required Qualifications
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Business, Public Administration, Public Relations, Communications, Writing or Health Sciences or related field required.
Experience:  Four years of experience in a related field and at least two years of supervisor, program planning and coordination experience required

Preferred Qualifications
Preferred Experience: Two years of Highway Safety experience preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
•    Knowledge of best practices in the field as well as all relevant federal, state, and local rules, regulations, and programs and policies for meeting compliance
•    Demonstrated positive, outgoing and highly motivated personality
•    Strong organizational skills with the ability to track and accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously
•    Excellent time management skills
•    Strong oral, presentation and written communication skills
•    Demonstrated  deep understanding and commitment to traffic safety and its programs and issues
•    Ability to lead a team of professionals
•    Skilled in program development methods, practices and procedures
•    Demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment.

•    A valid Maryland driver’s license is required.


Review of a Deadly Force Incident

The link below is a review of a deadly force incident involving a CPD officer and Tamir Rice. The review was completed by Kimberly A. Crawford, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Legal Instruction Unit (Retired).

In the review she explains in detail with court citations, what can and cannot be taken into account when reviewing an officer’s use of deadly force.

It is a very concise eight page report.

Baltimore County union says 911 staffing problems persist

Disagreements between Baltimore County 911 workers and administrators have come to a head, with union leaders planning a rally this week to focus attention on the Towson call center.

The Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees says high turnover and vacancies at the 911 center could put public safety at risk. The union says employees object to the county’s plan to switch to shifts that rotate between days and nights, beginning in January. County administrators contend they need the change to ensure that each shift is staffed with experienced employees.

John Ripley, head of the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees, said about 25 workers have left the center in the past six months. He said they are leaving largely because they don’t want to switch to rotating shifts.

“Our calculation is it’s over 230 years of experience, and that’s something that’s not replaced easily,” Ripley said. “We just feel like it’s a formula for disaster.”

A rally organized by the union is planned for Monday at 5:30 p.m. before the regularly scheduled County Council meeting. The union contends that rotating shifts are unhealthy for workers and create family hardships.

County officials say that over the years, 911 employees have been allowed to change shifts when a vacancy occurs, leading to an imbalance in experience because more experienced workers take the most desirable shifts.

“These assignment changes were approved with such frequency, for the employees’ benefit, that the experience gap … became dramatic and had to be corrected,” county administrative officer Fred Homan wrote in an open letter to 911 center employees last week.

For example, Homan said, at one point last year, the average experience for the 911 call-taking evening shift was about three years, while the average experience on the fire dispatch day shift was about 21 years.

County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler emphasized the center receives on average only 10 complaints from the public per year out of 750,000 calls.

According to county administrators, the center has 172 employees and 15 vacancies. A new class of 23 people is about to start, Kobler said.

“After their six weeks of training and two months of mentoring, we plan to be over authorized strength,” Kobler said in an email to The Baltimore Sun.

Because of under-staffing at the 911 center, county officials moved seven police and fire employees to the facility this year. Five firefighters and two police officers are working at the 911 center, with plans to return them to their police and fire positions within three months, Kobler said.

Last month, Capt. Joseph Conger, the police department’s technology and communications commander, said his division had received complaints from officers who said dispatchers were “unequipped to handle” inquiries involving law enforcement databases.

“The 911 Center Administration has assured us that this should not be happening,” Conger wrote.

Kobler said the complaints were the result of “a one-time mistake by an individual dispatcher.”

“Management corrected that individual on the mistake,” she said.

Employment Opportunity

Bob Castagnetti has two job openings at Peabody Institute, part of Johns Hopkins University. One opening is for a Casual (on-call) position in Campus Security. This job is for all three shifts. Most needs are on 11 to 7 shift and 3 to 11 shift, weekends being the most needs. There is also an opening for a supervisor (Sergeant) on the 11 to 7 shift.
Anyone interested can Google JHU Jobs to find the home page and filter the search to Peabody. The requisition numbers that apply are: 66588 for the Sergeant position and 64197 for the Casual position.
Anyone interested can also e-mail me @

Employment Opportunity


I am a recruiter for Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and believe the job above may be of interest to one of your retired or soon to retire members.  Please post or disseminate if possible.  Call with questions.



John T. Laing

Recruiting Specialist

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

6776 Reisterstown Road Suite 309

Baltimore, Maryland 21215-2341

Office 410-585-3777  Fax 410-764-4348