Sheridan wins confirmation as head of state police
The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Col. Terrence B. Sheridan yesterday as head of the Maryland State Police, but not before several black lawmakers argued that the agency needs to do more to retain and promote minorities.
Sen. Nathaniel Exum, a Prince George's County Democrat, cast the lone vote against Sheridan, but other African-American senators said they shared his concerns.
"I don't think that he has the commitment, the dedication and the sensitivity to bring about diversity in the state police," Exum said of Sheridan, a former Baltimore County police chief who had been acting superintendent of state police since he was appointed in May by Gov. Martin O'Malley.
African-Americans make up about 16 percent of the 1,516 sworn officers in the state police, according to figures supplied by state police spokesman Greg Shipley.
Last spring, they accounted for nearly 18 percent.
The spokesman said he could not explain the decline in the number of black troopers from 273 last year to 245 now, but he said a survey last year found that the percentage of African-Americans on the Maryland force was higher than in the police agencies of nine other East Coast states.
"We will continue to work to increase our diversity," Shipley said.
Sen. Verna L. Jones, a Baltimore Democrat, said she shares Exum's concerns about Sheridan but looks to O'Malley to ensure that diversity is a priority in the state police and throughout the Maryland work force.
Timothy B. Wheeler
: N. Charles Street
Board clears way for redevelopment
Redevelopment of a long-vacant parcel on North Charles Street can move forward after the city's Board of Estimates yesterday approved spending additional money to buy the former Chesapeake Restaurant.
The city will pay $2.5 million for several properties at Charles and Lanvale streets, including the restaurant, under a settlement that will end the city's effort to take the property through eminent domain.
The Baltimore Development Corp. selected Station North Development Partners LLC in 2005 to build Chesapeake Square - then proposed as an estimated $40 million to $50 million project with shops, restaurants, an art gallery, subsidized artists' lofts, a 91-unit condominium tower and 11 townhouses.
But the owner of the restaurant fought the city's effort to take his property, and the case made its way to the state's highest court, which ruled against the city - arguing that the specific procedure the city used to take the property was illegal. The city originally offered $770,000 for the property.
The city still expects to see a mixed-use development with street-level retail and a residential component on the site, but it is not clear whether the Station North Development Partners proposal will be built.
"It's the gateway to the Charles North area," said BDC president M.J. "Jay" Brodie. "It's been a critical property for us, which is why we've persevered to control it."
Carroll man found dead in a home
A Carroll County man was found shot dead after what a Pennsylvania man described as a home invasion that included a demand for a powerful prescription painkiller.
The Pennsylvanian told police that he killed a man who broke into his home in Littlestown, demanded OxyContin and threatened to kill him. Troopers found John Fischback, 50, in his home Tuesday afternoon with a revolver in hand, police said. The body of Nicholas Anthony Smith, 29, of Westminster was on the floor.