By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
UPDATE: Police sources report that as of April 6, 2014 both suspended St. Mary’s Sheriff Captains have been returned to work.
LEONARDTOWN, MD. — Two weeks after St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron admitted that he was “mortified” to learn that his deputies might be responsible for shooting at homes in the Wildewood neighborhood of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, two top commanders of the Sheriff’s Department have been sidelined and put on suspension – and nobody’s talking.
Capt. Steve Hall, rumored to be the top choice among Cameron political allies, who is the commander of the patrol division and Capt. Terry Black, the commander of the criminal investigations division have both been relieved of their duties.
Capt. Hall returned a call seeking comment on his suspension and declined to comment. Capt. Black has yet to return an email seeking comment and Sheriff Cameron has issued a blanket denial to respond to any personnel information requests but he did issue a press release saying that his agency was undertaking ballistic tests to determine if the automatic weapons which were being fired at a farm near Wildewood were responsible for bullets which went flying into homes, with one bullet landing a couple of feet from an infant.
From this action, the public may conclude that the ballistics tests came back and the rabbit died.
This is the first time in ten years that a command supervisor with the rank of captain has been suspended since Capt. Steven Doolan was demoted to the rank of lieutenant and assigned as a duty officer after it was revealed in ST. MARY’S TODAY that he was at the center of The Loot scandal.
In that secret theft scheme, the Maryland State Prosecutor launched an investigation and revealed that Doolan had turned over seized evidence which had been taken by police from a drug dealer in a raid and given it to his step-son and to a friend of Doolan.
Two years later Doolan quit after a police trial board recommended he be busted in rank again. But Doolan, instead of being charged with grand theft, was simply allowed to retire and collect a pension from the taxpayers. The drug dealer who sought the return of his property did get compensated by the county but was later sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for conducting his cocaine operation. Wendell Ford gets out of prison in 2015.
Doolan’s wife was St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz’s campaign treasurer. The State Prosecutor gave the report showing who had stolen property from the Sheriff’s Department to Sheriff David Zylak and to Fritz but neither official ever made the report public.
St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron has been promising to release the report since taking office in 2006 but has yet to produce it. The report is believed by some to include the names of other deputies who also stole property from the Sheriff’s Department but returned it after the heat came on the scandal from the State Prosecutor.
The public pays the budget for law enforcement but very little accountability about misconduct or law officers breaking law trickles out.
The latest such incident involving Lt. Julie Yingling was revealed in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY. In that affair, it is alleged that Lt. Yingling falsified pay records to steal overtime when she was actually sitting at home instead of working. Sheriff Cameron declined to comment but since the news was provided to the public he reassigned her from sitting at home on paid administrative leave and assigned her to work as a jail guard.