September 15,  2011

Police chief among those
leaving shorthanded force

County police chief Michael McGowan told County Council's public safety committee that a rash of retirements and other attrition have left the county force about 9% under strength and then announced that he is among the retirees.

Following the meeting on Sept. 13 County Executive Paul Clark's office issued a press statement confirming that McGowan is leaving, effective Oct. 1. Although McGowan himself would only say at the committee meeting that he is "moving on," a later published report said he was doing so to accept an unspecified position on the staff of U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a former county executive.

McGowan, who is 49 according the press statement, has been on the force 22 years. Coons appointed him to be acting chief in September, 2009, and chief in March, 2010.

McGowan told the committee meeting that the force currently has 30 vacancies. Of those, he said, six are the result of retirements and he knows of "four or five" others who are considering retirement. He indicated that all or most of the retirees are senior officers. Authorized strength of the county police force this fiscal year is 334.

He said there are about 100 applications to join the force being processed and it is expected that a sufficient number of those will qualify to justify beginning a police academy class in November. It takes about six months to train a new officer to the point where he or she is ready to go on patrol.

Members of Council at the meeting praised McGowan for his service as he advanced through the ranks.

The press statement said Clark will appoint an acting police chief "in the coming days."


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