Gansler responds to claims he ordered troopers to drive in unsafe manner

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Sunday disputed published reports that, over several years, he ordered state troopers to drive in an unsafe manner while they were transporting him on official duty.

The reports, published Sunday in the Washington Post, say according to accounts by Maryland State Police, Gansler  -- now a Democratic candidate for governor -- ordered troopers to drive with lights and sirens on the way to appointments, and also told them to speed, run red lights and drive on highway shoulders to get through traffic jams.

In a statement Sunday issued through spokesman Bob Wheelock, Gansler said, “The picture being painted by these documents is not an accurate reflection of reality. I deeply respect the troopers, the job they do protecting me and the public.”

The Post story cited police accounts alleging that when troopers refused to activate the emergency equipment, Gansler often flipped the switches himself and, on occasion, insisted on driving.

The story quoted a December 2011 memo by Lt. Charles Ardolini, commander of the state police executive protection section, saying that, “This extremely irresponsible behavior is non-stop and occurs on a daily basis. … Attorney General Gansler has consistently acted in a way that disregards public safety, our Troopers safety and even the law.”

In his statement Sunday, Gansler said, “A few of the 18 troopers who have provided me protection felt my backseat driving made them uncomfortable -- for that I apologize. I met with (state police superintendent) Col. Marcus Brown at the time of the incident that generated the internal memo provided to the Washington Post. To my knowledge, all of this had been resolved at that time. There really is not much more to say about it.

“I appreciate the job that these troopers do, often not seeing their families for long stretches of time and after 20 years of working side by side with law enforcement, I have nothing but the utmost respect for them,” Gansler said in the statement.

Wheelock said Sunday that despite the controversy, Gansler will go ahead with a campaign event  Monday in Beltsville. Gansler is expected to announce his selection of Prince George’s County Del. Jolene Ivey as his running mate.


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