Anne Arundel County in Maryland borders Baltimore on the city’s south side and runs down along the Chesapeake Bay. Their crime problems aren’t quite as bad as what’s regularly seen in Charm City, but they have issues of their own, given their close proximity to the city. And now they’ve developed yet another situation to deal with since they’ll be looking for a new Chief of Police. Their current top cop, Timothy Altomare, unexpectedly announced his early retirement on Tuesday night. Nobody was trying to force the popular Chief out of office, however. In his announcement, he cited the fact that he was not going to stand by and watch so-called police reforms “remove the teeth from policing.” (Baltimore Sun)
Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare announced his retirement in a surprise move Tuesday night, ending two decades with the department in which he worked his way up from patrolman to top cop.
Altomare’s retirement is effective Aug. 1. He said he was calling it quits because he won’t stand for efforts to remove the teeth from policing, a movement he believes will endanger the public and police, citing a spike in violent crime.
His announcement is set amid national unrest following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, which sparked protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Anne Arundel County has seen surprisingly few issues arising between the county Police Department and the citizens they serve and protect, particularly when compared to America’s larger cities. Much of that success is credited to Chief Altomare and the reforms he instituted when he took over the top job in 2014. He began his law enforcement career working a beat for five years with the Annapolis Police Department before joining the Anne Arundel County PD in 1998. From there he worked his way up the chain to become a sergeant in narcotics and special ops. He eventually became a captain under the previous Chief before assuming the office himself in 2014.
To see somebody in law enforcement with that sort of record and the respect of both the cops and the community walk out the door is alarming to say the least. But both the state and county legislatures are currently ramming through “reforms” for the police in response to the mobs ruling the streets and Altomare doesn’t care for them at all. Taking the bite out of the law enforcement power of the cops will only make the police less safe and effective themselves while making the community more at risk from crime and violence. The Chief has learned these lessons after nearly thirty years serving the public and apparently doesn’t want to stick around to watch the decline of the system he worked so hard to build.
Why do we bring up the administrative affairs of one county police department in Maryland? Because this could very easily be viewed as the canary in the coal mine in terms of the future of policing in America. We’re already seeing cops retiring in droves in Minnesota or simply quitting the force altogether. The same thing has been happening in New York City. A report from CNN last month found spiking resignations and retirements in a half dozen cities around the country.
These aren’t bad cops being forced out or arrested after questionable use of force incidents. These are good cops who are tired of being painted as the bad guys and having their own government treating them as suspects rather than the criminals they are charged with locking up. The more we see officers quitting, the harder it will be to recruit good people to replace them. And if you ever hope to see an end to the mobs currently running riot in the streets, we’re going to need the police and law enforcement personnel at all levels to eventually restore order. Once you’ve lost the thin blue line, it’s pretty much every man or woman for themself.