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Investigation into Bel Air police chief referred to Baltimore County; police union calls for investigation

The Bel Air Police Association called for an investigation into Bel Air Chief of Police Charles A. Moore, and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office has referred the matter to Baltimore County’s police and state’s attorney’s office.

A temporary protective order was served on Moore Jan. 28 in connection to allegations of laying hands on his wife and 17-year-old son. According to a complaint filed in Harford County Circuit Court, the teenager punched Moore, who attempted to choke him during an altercation Dec. 13 at his wife’s house in Jarrettsville.

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After another of Moore’s sons broke them up, Moore’s wife grabbed at a bag Moore was carrying and fell over when he pulled it away from her, injuring her finger, according to court documents.

The order also alleges other earlier instances of threats and physical contact, dating back to 2009.

After the order was issued, the Town of Bel Air announced Moore had been put on paid administrative leave.

Moore and his wife separated in 2016 and do not live at the same address, according to court documents.

Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cristie Hopkins said the issue was formally referred to the Baltimore County Police Department and State’s Attorney’s Office.

In a statement, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office signaled it has “consulted with and requested assistance from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office to complete the necessary investigations.”

The office is seeking help from another jurisdiction because Moore sits on the board of the Harford County Child Advocacy Center, which investigates child abuse across the whole county.

“As a board member, he could have access to sensitive investigative information, and while the staff is overseen by a Director, it could give the appearance that he has oversight or influence over the findings,” Hopkins wrote in an email. “The findings in this investigation will be determined by the Baltimore County Police Department.”

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Hopkins said this is a criminal investigation.

Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach confirmed the department has assumed responsibility for an internal investigation of Moore.

“No details into that investigation will be provided at this time as it is active and ongoing,” Peach said in an email, “however, the results of the investigation will be provided to the Office of the State’s Attorney of Baltimore County upon completion.”

On Monday, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said he didn’t know much about Moore’s situation.

“I know what I read in the paper," he said.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page over the weekend, the Bel Air Police Association disagreed with Bel Air Town administrator Jesse Bane’s comments to The Aegis on the incident. Bane said that no investigation would be conducted by the town as the alleged incident happened outside its jurisdiction. He also said that protective orders being served on law enforcement officers is “nothing unusual."

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Bel Air Police Union response to news reports regarding suspended Police Chief

Posted by Bel Air Police Association, IUPA Local 229 on Friday, January 31, 2020

“We reject this assertion. A police officer being accused of domestic violence and being the respondent of a protective order is highly unusual. There is nothing normal about this," the union’s statement reads.

“In the interests of fairness and public trust, an independent investigation into the allegations against Chief Moore must be conducted,” the union’s statement continued. “This will help ensure the continued trust and faith of the citizens we serve.”

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