So, what has happened since the Greenbelt Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) issued a vote of no confidence in Acting Chief Thomas Kemp? What were the motivations behind the vote? Why had there not been advance notice to the full police force? When will the city have a new police chief? Have there been any changes since the vote?
To get answers to these questions, the News Review interviewed FOP President Mike Apgar, Acting Chief Kemp, accompanied by Acting Captain Gordon Pracht and Public Information Liaison George Mathews, and City Manager Nicole Ard.
Although the initial press release announcing the vote stated that the FOP would be releasing further information about issues behind it, Apgar said that they decided instead to try to work with Kemp to resolve them. These issues predate Kemp’s tenure as acting chief, Apgar said, and have been building for three to four years. He reiterated previous statements that the vote had nothing to do with Kemp “as a person.” On the contrary, Apgar said that Kemp seems very dedicated to working with the FOP, which the lodge is very happy to see.
One of the main issues is the lack of opportunities for advancement. Apgar told the News Review that promotions had been frozen for more than a year, and transfers to specialty units have not happened for more than a year due to staffing shortages. As a result, several experienced officers have left to join the Prince George’s and Howard County police departments. To prevent this, he said, the city needs to find ways to retain its officers and move them out of the patrol division more quickly.
Read more of this story in the June 15 News Review