Norris reorganizes leadership within state police again

Maryland State Police Superintendent Edward T. Norris announced yesterday the second overhaul of the department within five months - promoting some commanders two positions above their current rank and all but guaranteeing the retirement of others.

In the latest shake-up, Capt. Mark S. Chaney, 44, a 21-year veteran of the department who had been assigned to the superintendent's office, was promoted two ranks to the position of lieutenant colonel in charge of the Operations Bureau, which oversees patrol units.


"I found someone with a little fire in the belly," Norris said of Chaney. "I think I've put together a talented team. I think the public will see the difference, in a bigger presence on the highways."

Chaney replaces Lt. Col. David W. Czorapinski, who is one of several commanders displaced by the promotions announced by Norris at a short ceremony at the Forestville barracks.


Czorapinski and three others, including the commander of the criminal investigations division and the head of the College Park barracks, have several days to decide whether to retire or accept demotions, department officials said.

Such changes are not unusual when a new superintendent takes over. In 1995, when David B. Mitchell became superintendent, he replaced three of four lieutenant colonels, including Terrence B. Sheridan, who now is the Baltimore County police chief.

Some troopers said they expected these kinds of changes under Norris, who took over in January. But others said the rapid changes have had an unsettling effect on the department.

The promotion of some commanders by two ranks is somewhat unusual, said Dan Poist, executive director of the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance. "But nothing surprises me with this administration of the state police," he said.

In all, six captains and three lieutenants were promoted to majors , officials said yesterday.

The new majors include:

* Capt. Patrick J. Guidash, 40, a 17-year department veteran filling a vacant spot as head of the quartermaster and motor vehicle inspections divisions.

* Capt. Thomas P. Coptinger, 44, a 22-year veteran, who will remain in the Homeland Security and Intelligence Bureau.


* Capt. John R. Simpson, 40, a 19-year veteran who will command the special operations division, replacing a retiring major.

* Capt. Andrew J. McAndrew, 41, a 19-year veteran who had served in the homeland security bureau and will become a regional operations commander.

* Capt. Anthony Satchell, 35, a 14-year veteran who remains in the licensing division.

* Lt. John M. Zeigler, 47, a 27-year veteran, who will become one of several regional operations commanders.

* Lt. Christopher E. Finn, named a major in the administrative bureau.

* Lt. Nick Paros, the commander of the JFK Highway barracks, will become a regional operations commander. Paros said yesterday he will step down as president of the Maryland Troopers Association, one of the groups that represents officers in labor issues.


Tomorrow, former Baltimore city police public information officer Ragina C. Averella is scheduled to start a new job in the state police office of communications. Averella replaces Lt. Bud Frank, who was reassigned to the special operations division last month, said Maj. Greg Shipley.

For the record

In an article in yesterday's Sun about new commanders in the Maryland State Police department, the names and assignments of two new majors were incorrect. Thomas P. Coppinger is a new major in the Homeland Security and Intelligence Bureau. Newly appointed Major Christopher E. Finn is assigned to the superintendent's office. Major Matthew G. Lawrence, whose promotion was not reported, will command the criminal investigations division. The Sun regrets the errors and the omission.