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Maryland

Maryland State Police superintendent to retire at end of year, governor announces

Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, the superintendent of Maryland State Police, will retire at the end of the year, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

Jones became superintendent of the statewide law enforcement agency in February 2020 after four years leading the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. His retirement comes after 35 years in law enforcement, Hogan’s office said in a news release.

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“When I was hired as a Maryland State Police cadet just a few years after graduation from high school, I never in my most ambitious visions thought I would reach the pinnacle of my law enforcement career by serving in Governor Hogan’s administration,” Jones wrote in a release.

He praised state police troopers’ “dedication to duty” and “selfless public safety service to the people of our state.”

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The chief of the agency’s Field Operations Bureau, Lt. Col. Roland L. Butler Jr. will serve as acting superintendent beginning Jan. 1, Hogan said.

Hogan, a Republican, will leave office in 2023 and be replaced by Gov.-elect Wes Moore, a Democrat.

The Maryland State Police has made headlines this year around its treatment of Black and minority troopers. The agency faces both a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into potential racial discrimination and federal litigation alleging the same that seeks class-action status to represent troopers of color.

Butler is the agency’s second Black person to serve as acting superintendent.

Hogan’s news release said Butler became chief of field operations, which oversees patrol and investigative personnel, in July 2020. He also served on the superintendent’s staff, in the Office of Equity and Inclusion and in the support services bureau.

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Hogan said Butler “exemplifies the core State Police values of integrity, fairness and service, and he plays a critical role every day in keeping our communities safe.”

Butler called it an honor to serve as acting chief and said he was grateful for the opportunity.

Under Hogan’s administration, troopers saw salary increases, his office said in the news release. The state also funded new barracks and improvements to the patrol fleet, it said.

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The agency has roughly 1,440 sworn employees, according to a 2021 report. It enforces criminal and traffic laws across the state.

The governor said Jones, the outgoing superintendent, had “steady and principled leadership of the highest caliber” and thanked him for his service.

Earlier this year, Jones came out forcefully against a series of offensive challenge coins circulating in the agency. At least four of the coins — including one that read “Hunt the animal” — led to discipline in recent years.

Jones called the phenomenon “childish, offensive and divisive,” adding “those who are willing to tarnish the reputation of our shield and badge, and the legacy of our fallen, do not deserve to wear it.”


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