Big Vote Tonight! Stay Informed!

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Tonight is a big night! I normally don’t get involved in Cheverly politics but I wanted to put in my two cents concerning an important vote that is happening this evening at Town Hall at 8pm. I love that our town has a police force. Even if you don’t agree with what I’m going to say, it is vital that everyone in town knows what’s happening this evening. Stay informed, taxpayers!!! We are a safe community and we have police who actually interact with us. All of my interaction with the acting Chief Towers has been positive AND more than that, everyone I trust who is very involved in our community loves this man. If you are not up on what is happening within the Cheverly Police, currently we have no Chief of Police. Tonight the Cheverly Council is voting on what to do with this position. Should they hire the current acting Chief Towers or should they do a local/nationwide search? If they do a search it could take 3-4 months and it would cost the taxpayers money. The group of officers we have now have done so much- and one of my dear friends makes the case better than I can in her words here:

I believe strongly that Acting Chief Towers should be considered for the position of Police Chief prior to the Town embarking on a regional or national search. Over the course of the past several months as acting chief, he’s essentially been on the longest job interview ever. And I believe he’s demonstrated his commitment to Cheverly and that he will be a great Chief of Police. I’m impressed with the active outreach he’s led to Gladys Noon Spellman, his initiation of a weekly teen kick-ball game with teens and officers, and his outreach to my friend Jay Brown to understand and work together on LGBTQIA issues, with a special focus on transgender understanding. Personally I had an excellent interaction with Acting Chief Towers after the “active bail out” man hunt that happened in town. I was disappointed with PGCPS’s handling of students who were being dropped off during the man hunt. Even before I reached out to him, Chief Towers had identified a break down in the PGCPS protocol and was already working with PGCPS to fix it county-wide for future incidents.

I would also encourage everyone in the community to read the letter of endorsement from the Cheverly Police Chief’s Advisory Board below:

To the Cheverly Town Council:

On behalf of Cheverly’s Police Chief’s Advisory Board (PCAB), I would like to thank you for inviting PCAB to be a part of the process of hiring a permanent Chief of Police for the Town of Cheverly. PCAB’s mission is to enhance the level of trust between the community and the Cheverly Police Department through open dialogue and free discussion of ideas and concerns. We provide a venue for residents to assist in developing crime prevention initiatives and public awareness campaigns on issues in public safety. We foster community education through dissemination of information on the roles, responsibilities, and ongoing activities of the Cheverly Police Department. We actively seek out the views of residents from Cheverly neighborhoods in order to advise the Chief of Police on issues and concerns that impact the wellbeing of residents, business owners, and guests. The members of PCAB are in a unique position to help inform the Town Council in both prioritizing the necessary characteristics of Cheverly’s Chief of Police, and the process by which a permanent Chief is selected.

The members of PCAB are eager and willing to assist in the important work that is ahead of you. When I created PCAB’s Police Chief Hiring Committee, every member of the board wanted to be a part of it. The tasks that will be delegated to this “committee of the whole” will be to create a prioritized list of characteristics we think are necessary in a permanent Chief of Police, meet with the Town Administrator, councilmembers, and the Mayor when requested, and hopefully meet and talk with candidates for the position. Our goal is to be able to provide an informed opinion to the Town Council about who we believe is the best person to lead the Cheverly Police Department. We have worked very closely with the Cheverly Police Department over the past year. As residents actively engaged with matters of public safety in Cheverly, I believe PCAB’s membership is uniquely suited to offer a valuable voice as you make your hiring decision. Thank you again for your willingness to include the community in this process.

We have two recommendations to put forward to the Town Council at these beginning stages of your search for a permanent Chief of Police. First, we strongly encourage you to move forward

with the selection process now, rather than waiting until a new Town Administrator is hired. As we have worked with the Cheverly Police Department over the past year, we believe your main priority should be to consider the supervision and mentorship gap that currently exists in the Department. Many of Cheverly’s officers are new and need supervisors that can guide them as they gain experience protecting and serving our community. It is necessary to prioritize hiring a Chief of Police so they may immediately work on hiring high quality officers in supervisory roles to provide the mentorship that our current officers need.

Our second recommendation is for the Town Council to vote to evaluate Acting Chief Towers for the permanent Chief of Police, rather than starting with a regional or national search. During your Worksession on June 6th you developed a list of criteria you considered to be important as characteristics you wish to see in Cheverly’s Chief of Police. We ask that you consider evaluating Acting Chief Towers and appoint him as permanent Chief of Police if you believe him to be fitting for the job. This would fulfill the goal of acting with expediency in stabilizing the Cheverly Police Department’s leadership. Acting Chief Towers has been with the Cheverly Police Department for over 10 years and in the role of Acting Chief for eight months. We believe there is ample evidence whereby you can appropriately judge his character and skill based on the final job description you develop for the Chief of Police position. Evaluating Acting Chief Towers first, whether you choose to appoint him as Chief of Police or not, at least provides the Cheverly Police Department and the residents of the Town of Cheverly some amount of stability and knowledge about the future of public safety in Cheverly. We implore you to consider this option before investing time and money in a regional or national search for a Chief of Police.

I again thank you for your inclusion of the Police Chief’s Advisory Board in the process of hiring a permanent Chief of Police. As a Board focused on building trust between the community and the police, during a time in which the Cheverly Police Department has seen a tremendous amount of change, we are in a unique position to inform your choices. Our ability to participate in this process signals to the community that the Town is ready and willing to listen to the voices of the community when considering how to fill this very important role in promoting public safety in Cheverly. Your commitment to civic leadership is commendable and we look forward to working with all of you.

Best Regards,

Katie Zafft, Ph.D. President

Cheverly Police Chief’s Advisory Board

Please reach out to your council member today for more information on how they plan to vote on this and why. Reach out to our new mayor. Let her hear your thoughts: mayor@cheverly-md.gov

 

 

 

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