… ‘It is a historical time, both for me being a woman and for me being African American…’ …
BY KIRSTEN DIZE
Veteran deputy Christina Presberry has become the first woman and first African American to hold the rank of major in the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Her promotion, along with several others, was announced this week by Sheriff Jesse Bane.
Formerly a lieutenant in the police services bureau assigned to Special Operations, Presberry was promoted to major and named a member of the sheriff’s command staff, where she will be responsible for the Police Services Bureau.
“She is the first female officer to hold the rank of major in this sheriff’s office history,” Monica Worrell, public information specialist with the sheriff’s office, said Tuesday.
Presberry, 51, is also the first African American to achieve the rank of major with the sheriff’s office, which has been Harford’s chief law enforcement agency since the county was founded in 1774.
She is the third African American to be a member of the sheriff’s command staff.
“It is a historical time, both for me being a woman and for me being African American and that means a lot to me,” Presberry said Tuesday.
Presberry said she believes in the sheriff’s mission and while she expects there to be a steep learning curve with her change in rank, she is excited and ready for the challenge.
“The whole time I was going to school and pursuing my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, this is what I was aiming to do,” Presberry said. “The sheriff has given me the opportunity to do this, to be a pioneer within the agency.”
In Presberry’s new role, the 26-year member of the sheriff’s office will be responsible for both the Northern and Southern precincts, Community Policing Unit, Gang Suppression Unit, Traffic Unit and Violent Street Crimes Unit and will manage more than 195 members of the sheriff’s office, most of them patrol deputies.
Presberry is one of three officers Bane promoted to the rank of major and selected to serve on the sheriff’s command staff.
Douglas Verzi, 51, former captain in the Police Services Bureau assigned to the Northern Precinct, was promoted to major and will head the Investigative Services Bureau.
Among his new responsibilities are the Criminal Investigations Division, Major Case Unit, Megan’s Law Unit, Child Advocacy Center and Harford County Task Force.
Verzi has been a member of the sheriff’s office for 31 years.
Maj. Michael Capasso, 48, will take command of the Correctional Services Bureau and serve as assistant warden. Before his promotion he was a captain with the bureau assigned to the Operations Division.
The 24-year member of the sheriff’s office will primarily focus on the care, custody and control of inmates at the Harford County Detention Center.
Capasso will also oversee the Correctional Response Team, Gang Intel Unit, operations division and administrative services division and manage more than 150 members of the sheriff’s office among other responsibilities.
The three new majors join Maj. Dale Stonesifer and Deputy Sheriff Gregory Carlevaro as Bane’s top commanders.
Two commanders were also promoted to captain.
Duane Williams, formerly a lieutenant assigned to the Northern Precinct, was promoted to captain and will be responsible for the Special Investigations Division.
Williams has been a member of the sheriff’s office for 20 years.
H. Michael Gullion, a 17-year member of the sheriff’s office, was promoted to captain from lieutenant and will take responsibility Harford County Detention Center security operations.
“This team that’s in place right now spells many good things for Harford County,” Bane said of his command staff Tuesday.
Also assigned to the sheriff’s command staff are detention center Warden Elwood Dehaven, Capt. Daniel Galbraith with the Administrative Services Division, Capt. John Bakie with the Court Services Division, Capt. Joe Mina with the Criminal Investigations Division and Capt. Tanya Jackson with the detention center administrative services, Northern Precinct Commander Capt. Keith Warner, Capt. John Bowman with the Patrol Special Operations Division, Southern Precinct commander Capt. Christopher Swain and Capt. Stephen Thomas with the Youth Services Division.
Bane said there could be more organizational changes to the sheriff’s office in the next year or two.
With changes in responsibilities and formation of new units, organization had become somewhat “out of kilter,” said the sheriff, who was re-elected to his second term in November.
In the meantime, Bane said he feels lucky to have an agency rife with talent. He said during the interview process, there were a number of other captains he would have liked to promote.
“There are a lot of rising stars within this agency,” Bane said.