The former Maryland State Police superintendent — who is now acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police — has issued an apology after he was caught on video taking down two roadside signs critical of him.
Col. Marcus Brown apologized Thursday after his actions sparked a misdemeanor theft investigation by local authorities.
The message on the signs about Brown — "Marcus Brown didn't earn it!" and "Marcus Brown don't wear it!" — revolves around his decision to wear the Pennsylvania State Police uniform, rather than plainclothes, while on the job. Some retired state troopers have publicly criticized Brown for wearing the uniform because he didn't attend the State Police Academy or come up through the department's ranks.
Brown left the Maryland State Police in January when he was selected to head the Pennsylvania State Police by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Brown had been superintendent of the Maryland State Police since 2011 after spending most of his law enforcement career in the Baltimore Police Department, where he rose to second-in-command. He left the department in 2007 to become the Maryland Transportation Authority police chief
A 25-year law enforcement veteran who still faces a confirmation process in the Pennsylvania Senate, Brown defended himself in the sign incident, saying his family's privacy had been invaded after he endured derogatory and public criticism.
"It is one thing to attack me, but it finally culminated with an individual finding out where I live, where my children get on the bus, my route of travel, the time I leave my home, putting up signs attacking me, and recording me from afar," Brown said in a statement. "And yesterday after all of this, I made a mistake and an error in judgment."
He said his actions didn't reflect well on himself or the state police and he regretted that.
Hampden Township police Chief Steven Junkin said his department is investigating Brown's removal of the signs along a road near his neighborhood Wednesday morning.
The signs were posted by a man who then apparently captured video of Brown removing them, Junkin said. It's unclear whether the signs were placed on township or private property, he said.
Brown, 50, heads one of the nation's largest police forces, with about 6,000 troopers and civilian employees and a $1 billion annual budget.
Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.