The executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association resigned Monday after the group learned he had been charged with soliciting a prostitute, who in fact was an undercover police officer, according to court records.
Larry Harmel, 71, a former state trooper and the head of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police for seven years, was charged by summons Dec. 8 in connection with a sting in Southeast Baltimore that took place on Oct. 12, court records show.
On Friday, Harmel denied having been charged before hanging up on a reporter. Attorney Bruce Marcus responded Monday to a second attempt to reach Harmel and said he was unaware of the allegations and not in a position to respond directly to the charges.
"He's a long, storied, exemplary law enforcement officer and public servant who's got an unblemished career," Marcus said. "We will do everything humanly possible to clear his name and reputation."
Riverdale Park Police Chief David C. Morris, president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, said the "development deeply saddens the executive board, and we respect Mr. Harmel's privacy as he and his family work through this personal matter."
A plainclothes vice officer was working at 3:20 p.m. in the 6700 block of Graceland Ave. in what police describe as an area known for prostitution when she said a man in a pickup truck pulled up to her, she wrote in court documents.
The officer asked Harmel what he was looking for, and said he responded: "You know."
"You're making me nervous. Are you a cop?" they asked each other, according to court records.
The officer said she would perform a sex act "not for a lot," saying, "I haven't had my medicine today. I just need to get my medicine."
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He agreed and she got into Harmel's truck, where he said he would take her to a graveyard. The Hebrew Cemetery is nearby. He was taken to an arrest location and told he would receive a criminal summons at a later date, police wrote in charging documents.
The Maryland Chiefs of Police Association is a nonprofit group composed of chiefs from across the state, and it lobbies on their behalf.
Harmel was a Maryland state trooper for more than 30 years, retiring as deputy superintendent. He also commanded the state's Executive Protection Division and security operations at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
He led the MdTA police force for seven years. In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for a seat in the House of Delegates representing Baltimore County.
Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.