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Anne Arundel Co. police chief subpoenaed in Leopold probe

The Anne Arundel County police chief appeared Thursday before a grand jury investigating whether County Executive John R. Leopold misused government resources, sources said.

Col. James E. Teare, Sr., the highest-ranking county employee subpoenaed since the state prosecutor began investigating Leopold's use of his security detail, arrived Thursday morning at the county Circuit Court in downtown Annapolis and strode through the courthouse wearing his police uniform and shaking hands with acquaintances.

Teare, who said he does not have an attorney, entered the state's attorney's office, where the grand jury meets, and emerged 31/2 hours later. He declined to comment, saying he was "not at liberty" to say whether he had testified.

Anne Arundel Police Lt. Scott Davis also was subpoenaed, according to sources, and appeared Thursday morning at the courthouse. Davis, commander of the department's Office of Professional Standards, declined to comment. Davis was appointed in May to oversee Leopold's executive protection detail as part of a shakeup of the unit.

"Can't talk about that," he said, when asked whether he was testifying in the Leopold investigation.

A spokesman for Leopold, a two-term Republican, declined to comment Thursday.

Teare's appearance marks the latest development in the months-long probe. The state prosecutor's office began investigating Leopold's use of his county-financed police security detail earlier this year.

The president of the county's firefighters union, Craig Oldershaw, said in March that he was interviewed by an investigator from the state prosecutor's office about a $4,000 check — a campaign contribution from the union to Leopold's 2010 re-election campaign — that an officer from Leopold's security detail picked up from him.

Leopold's Democratic opponent for county executive last year, Joanna L. Conti also said she was contacted by an investigator from the state prosecutor's office about allegations that Leopold may have directed members of his security detail to remove Conti's campaign signs.

Leopold has denied any wrongdoing, though he has said he probably should have picked up the check himself. As he campaigned for re-election last year, Leopold underwent two back surgeries, and he has said he relied more heavily on his staff to perform chores.

The state prosecutor in March subpoenaed Leopold's public schedule from 2008 to early 2011, which showed that members of the security detail and other county staffers performed a myriad of personal tasks for Leopold, including taking his shoes to a repair shop and picking up his girlfriend from the airport.

A recent examination of his public schedule by The Baltimore Sun showed that in the last six months, Leopold has changed the way his schedule is compiled, now offering only limited details. He also has significantly decreased the amount of overtime spent on his county-paid security detail, according to records provided by the county. In 2010, the detail was paid $104,000 in overtime. In the first 11 months of this year, that figure shrank to $7,000.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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