Arundel police union calls on Leopold, Teare to step down
By By Andrea F. Siegel and The Baltimore Sun
Mar 07, 2012 | 12:02 AM
Anne Arundel County's largest police union called Tuesday night on County Executive John R. Leopold and Police Chief James Teare Sr. to resign in the wake of the indictment of Leopold, who is accused of using his police security detail for campaign and personal tasks.
Fraternal Order of Police members voted overwhelmingly to express no confidence in Leopold and Teare. Every ballot cast opposed Leopold, and about 90 percent voiced no confidence in Teare, union officials said late Tuesday. More than half of the union's approximately 500 members voted in two days of balloting that ended at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
"We are hoping that [Leopold and Teare] will do the right thing and step down," said union President O'Brien Atkinson. The call for the no-confidence vote had come before the indictment was handed down.
The indictment, handed down Friday, alleges that officers on the security detail complained to their superiors, Teare included, but "no effective action was taken by the chief." Teare was not accused of any crime.
The indictment alleges that in 2010 Leopold ordered his security detail to perform personal chores, transport him to steal opponents' campaign signs, and prevent his live-in girlfriend from running into a county employee with whom he had an "intimate relationship." Leopold won a second term as county executive that year.
"The chief and the county executive have no intention of resigning," said Leopold spokesman Dave Abrams. Leopold has vowed to fight the charges.
"These unions want pay increases at the expense of other County employees and taxpayers," Leopold wrote in a prepared statement.
In previous statements this week, Teare said it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the indictment and dismissed concerns about his alleged knowledge of Leopold's actions.
The FOP's call for the men to step down follows identical action by the unions representing police sergeants and lieutenants, who on Monday called on Teare and Leopold to resign.
The actions come as the unions have reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the Leopold administration.
The FOP on Monday asked the County Council to change county law to require a council vote to fire a police chief. Union leaders said that would prevent a police chief from being beholden strictly to the county executive.
"We believe the indictment is 100 percent accurate and the details of the indictment should be enough for both of these men to step down from office," Atkinson said in a prepared statement.