Ecker appoints Howard County police chief Robey moves up to head police force.


Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker today appointed police Maj. James N. Robey to head the county's 295-member Police Department.

Robey, 50, has been acting police chief since Frederick W. Chaney left earlier this month after Ecker asked for his resignation.

Robey joined the department in 1966 and moved up the ranks. He was promoted to police officer first class in 1970, corporal in 1972, sergeant in 1973, lieutenant in 1977, captain in 1980 and major in 1981.

Robey, chosen from 30 applicants, lives in Ellicott City, is married and has two children. He attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., in 1979, received a degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland the same year and did graduate work at Hood College.

He inherits a department suffering from a poor image among some county residents since last year when a 20-year-old Columbia man who had filed brutality charges against three officers was found hanged.

There was no evidence of police involvement in the incident, which police ruled a suicide. The incident angered residents, who charged that Chaney was covering up for his department, and the Howard County Police Officers Association, which said the former chief did not stand behind his officers. The episode is believed to be largely responsible for Ecker's decision not to retain Chaney.

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