The supervisor of the Maryland State Police drug bureau has been demoted and shifted to a low-profile administrative post -- a move that comes amid an internal probe into the bureau's investigation of nude dance bars on The Block.
Thomas H. Carr, who once came close to running the entire agency, was pulled from his coveted post Friday and demoted two ranks, from lieutenant colonel to captain. The demotion -- to a rank he first attained eight years ago -- was announced as internal investigators continue to examine the bureau, its finances and several of its undercover officers.
A state police spokesman refused to explain the demotion and transfer yesterday.
"It's not something we're going to talk about," Lt. Gregory Shipley said. "It's just a movement of managers in the agency. That's what's been done, and we're not going to discuss it further."
Captain Carr did not return messages left at his office and home yesterday.
The agency named Lt. Col. Terrence B. Sheridan as his replacement. The 29-year veteran said he didn't know why Captain Carr was demoted and that he was excited about running the drug bureau, where he was a commander from 1990 to 1992.
"I've been away from it for a while," said Colonel Sheridan, 50. "I'm going to take a good hard look at what needs to be done here and what direction we need to take."
Captain Carr, 45, has been with the state police for nearly 23 years. He graduated first in his academy class, joined the department in 1971 and worked his way through its ranks. In 1990, he was promoted to head the agency's new Bureau of Drug Enforcement.
Within two years, Captain Carr was widely considered to be the front-runner for the agency's top job. He had broad support among rank and file officers but less sway with Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
In 1992, the governor selected Col. Larry W. Tolliver, the chief of his personal security detail, as state police superintendent.
Officers at the agency said Captain Carr's demotion and transfer might have stemmed from problems swirling around the investigation of and Jan. 14 raid on The Block. Captain Carr headed the bureau that ran the investigation, but the day-to-day responsibilities of the undercover operation were handled by Maj. John Cook, who remains in his job.
Internal investigators are examining the conduct of at least three members of the undercover team.
Sgt. Warren Rineker shared a hotel room with the wife of the owner of a bar targeted by the squad. He has since resigned from the force.
Col. Gary Manos and Trooper Gus Economides are under investigation in the wake of witnesses' claims that they paid a dancer for sex in one of the nude clubs. Both officers have been reassigned during the investigation.
The drug bureau also is the focus of an internal staff inspection and financial audit. Investigators are trying to determine how much money officers spent on The Block operation and whether the bureau followed department procedures.
Lieutenant Shipley declined to say whether the continuing probes played a role in the demotion of Captain Carr.
"We're not going to respond to that," he said.
Some state police officers said the demotion might have been inspired by internal politics. Captain Carr and Colonel Tolliver have been political rivals for years. Captain Carr was frequently mentioned in political circles as a candidate to take over the agency if the next governor removed Colonel Tolliver from office.
Lieutenant Shipley declined to comment.
In his new job, Captain Carr will supervise the agency's administrative services bureau, which oversees a long list of unglamorous units, including training, supplies, personnel, communications and records. Because he was demoted two ranks, his pay will fall by $9,590 -- from $69,480 to $59,890.
Colonel Sheridan has built a reputation as a no-nonsense, by-the-book administrator. He began at the agency in 1965. Within 10 years, he was promoted to sergeant in the intelligence division and went on to head the internal affairs units at the corrections department and within the state police agency.
In 1990, he was transferred to work under Captain Carr at the drug enforcement bureau. In his most recent post, Colonel Sheridan was the assistant chief in charge of the special operations division, handling criminal investigations, undercover operations and other units.