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Havre de Grace Police Chief Walter approved for three-year contract extension

Havre de Grace Police Chief Teresa Walter has led the police department since 2005, making her the longest-tenured department head in the city. With the City Council’s unanimous decision Monday, Walter has three more years in her leadership role.

The council went into a closed-session meeting for about 25 minutes, in the midst of its open meeting Monday night, to discuss a performance evaluation for Walter and review her re-appointment.

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Council members returned to open session and voted unanimously in favor of a three-year extension of the chief’s contract. They and Mayor William T. Martin gave her a brief round of applause after the vote.

“Thank you mayor, thank you council members; I appreciate that,” Walter replied.

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Walter came to the Havre de Grace Police Department in 2005 after a more than 20-year career with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Martin noted she is the longest-serving director in the city administration — other department heads include directors of planning, finance, economic development and public works.

Martin said Walter “mans a great police department” with the support of “two really good captains that help her execute her vision and her leadership platform.”

“I feel that the public trusts our police officers,” Martin said. “I feel, that we feel, that we live in a safe community.”

The mayor praised recent initiatives that have happened under Walter’s leadership, such as placing school resource officers in all city schools and creating an auxiliary police program so additional personnel are on hand to provide safety and security at community events.

“The chief goes above and beyond every day, leading her department and representing her department to the citizens," Martin said. “But, the chief also knows how important it is to make the citizens feel that we’re all part of the same team.”

He praised Walter for “just getting out there and leading by example” by visiting schools or participating in department fundraisers, such as the recent Cops on Rooftops event when the chief and her officers spent a day standing on the roof of the local Dunkin’ store to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland.

Council members also congratulated Walter on her contract extension and committing to another three years leading the police department.

Councilman James Rinksaker praised the chief for fostering a culture of community policing, in which officers get out and interact with the community.

“I like the Mayberry feel of Havre de Grace, versus the big city feel,” he said.

Councilwoman Casi Boyer thanked Walter for “for your dedication and your service, but most especially your leadership.”

“Your leadership is seen not only within your department but throughout the city, and I really appreciate all your effort, thank you,” Boyer said.

Walter gave her typical report during the council meeting, as each department head delivers reports to the mayor and council.

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The chief reminded residents that they should follow the posted speed of 25 mph when driving on Juniata Street and Otsego Street. She noted that Otsego, which intersects Route 40, is “a main thoroughfare, so to speak, in and out of our city,” but the street also goes through residential areas.

Walter also urged drivers to remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the repainted crosswalk at Otsego and Legion Drive near the bus stop, and to look for the extended right-turn lane from Otsego onto Route 40. She said the state recently extended the length of the turn lane to “hopefully relieve some congestion off of Otsego onto Route 40.”

Her final reminder was for residents doing holiday shopping to bring their packages into their homes, or if they must leave them in their vehicles, to cover up the packages and lock the car doors to prevent presents from being stolen.

Finally, Walter wished everyone a “happy holiday, merry Christmas.”

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