When 1st Lt. Kenneth L. Tregoning arrived at the Westminster barracks from the Maryland State Police Academy in Pikesville almost three years ago, he said that anyone who wanted a career with the state police must be willing to travel to new assignments.
On July 1, he will be willing -- although not particularly overjoyed -- to leave the county and take the helm of the state police's Golden Ring barracks in Baltimore County as one of 36 transfers within the agency.
But the change in guard also will bring a new commander to Westminster: 1st Lt. Roy A. Neigh, a Carroll County resident who has been commander of the Bel Air barracks in Harford County since April 1990.
"I had no request to be transferred on file, but I think this is just an option exercised by the management," said Tregoning, who will be making his 11th transfer in his 24 years with the state police. "They like to give the commanders a new look every once in a while."
Tregoning was informed of his new position Thursday, said 1st Sgt. Steve Reynolds of the Westminster barracks, whose promotion brought him to the Carroll barracks at the time of Tregoning's arrival.
Although he has worked with Neigh before, Reynolds says he and the other staff of the barracks will be very sorry to see the "personable" Tregoning leave.
"We had an excellent working relationship, and I can speak for everyone here when I say he was well-respected and well-liked. He was a real gentleman."
The change in atmosphere for Tregoning will put him in a barracks responsible mainly for patrolling interstate highways.
Even the commute -- 70 minutes, as compared with his 15-minute ride now from his home near Union Bridge -- will be a challenge.
"It will take a little adjustment, but I will do my best wherever I am placed," Tregoning said. "It's something I understood when I signed up for the police."
The incoming commander, Neigh, 42, has been with the state DTC police for 23 years, including two years with the truck weight division, before going into the academy.
He calls the transfer "more like a promotion, like I've gone to heaven," because he has made requests for transfer to his home county on and off for the past eight years.
"I have lived here for about 12 years," said Neigh, who lives above Melrose near the Pennsylvania line. "But I also wanted to come because it is an excellent barracks, with fine individuals."
Before becoming commander in Bel Air, Neigh was the commander of entrance-level training at the academy for a little over two years. He served as an assistant commander and then acting commander at the Valley barracks in Baltimore County, which has been combined with the Security barracks to form the barracks in Golden Ring.
Previous work in the state police force included service in the Criminal Investigation Division in Pikesville, the narcotics section now the Bureau of Drug Enforcement), and as a uniformed sergeant at the Centreville and Security barracks.
"Yeah, I did a little of everything," said Neigh, a Baltimore County native who graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in 1967 and the police academy in 1971. "But I am looking forward to my new assignment."
In his new position, he will supervise what is essentially the local police agency. In Harford County, the Sheriff's Department acts as the county's police force, while the state police primarily handle highway patrol.
There are a few things about his job at Bel Air he will miss.
"We had a program there called the Maryland Project that we ran with the Harford County Sheriff's Department," Neigh said. "We worked a lot with the community, and I was on the board that initiated it."
But he likes the idea of the short drive to work.
"It used to be one hour from driveway to driveway," Neigh said. "Now, I told my son, I can leave the same time you do to go to school."
The transfers, as well as 71 promotions across the state, were announced Friday by State Police Superintendent Col. Larry W. Tolliver, former bodyguard to Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who replaced Col. Elmer H. Tippett May 19.
Also transferring to Westminster is Sgt. Al L. Liebno, formerly of the Training Division in Pikesville. Cpl. Mark K. Papi of Westminster was promoted to sergeant at the Easton barracks in Talbot County as of July 1.
Tfc. Steve Burdelski, formerly of the Westminster barracks, was promoted to corporal and transferred to the training academy in Pikesville last Monday.