Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz swore in Jason Etzler as chief of the Taneytown Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.
Taneytown Mayor Bradley Wantz swore in Jason Etzler as chief of the Taneytown Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (City of Taneytown/Courtesy photo)

There’s a new top cop in Taneytown, though he is no stranger to the city or its police department.

At its Monday evening meeting, the Taneytown council voted 3-1 to approve the mayor’s nomination of Taneytown Police Lt. Jason Etzler to the position of chief on a permanent basis.

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Etzler has been serving as the acting police chief in Taneytown since Feb. 4, when then-Chief William Tyler was federally charged with illegal possession and transfer of machine guns. Tyler pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful transfer and possession of a machine gun on Feb. 12.

Mayor Bradley Wantz had nominated Etzler to the position of permanent chief at a workshop meeting of the mayor and council on Aug. 8.

"I am confident in nominating him as our police chief,” Wantz said at the time.

Etzler was sworn in by Wantz on Tuesday night.

On Monday, Wantz asked four members of the council — the fifth, Councilwoman Judith Fuller, was not present — to join him in supporting a motion to name Etzler permanent chief of the Taneytown police department.

Jason Etzler was sworn in as chief of the Taneytown Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.
Jason Etzler was sworn in as chief of the Taneytown Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (City of Taneytown/Courtesy photo)

According to the Taneytown city code, a chief can be confirmed by a majority vote of the council, and then serves at the pleasure of the mayor and council — a chief may be removed by a vote of the council.

Councilmen Darryl Hale and Joe Vigliotti both voiced their support and voted for the motion, while Councilman Daniel Haines, who had voiced reservations on Aug. 8, noted that he had changed his mind after receiving feedback and also voted in favor.

Mayor Pro Tem Diane Foster had voiced her opposition to the nomination on Aug. 8 and was the sole vote against on Monday, though she clarified in an interview that she did not object to Etzler serving as chief.

“I have no opposition to the person, my opposition is to the absence of a competitive, transparent process to hire,” she said. "I regret that some may look at it as a vote against Lt. Etzler. It is not. It’s a vote against the lack of process, a hiring process that is competitive and transparent."

Etzler was not present at the meeting, but Wantz said he would be formally sworn in sometime during the week.

“I think Chief Etzler has done a outstanding job over the past six months of recovering the department, working with the investigations the city had done, and I think he’s proven in the 17 years he’s been here that he’s prepared himself for this,” Wantz said. “I think we’re going to see great things happen in this city now with him leading our department.”

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