Small Maryland Town Suspends Police Force Without Much Explanation

(Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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The leaders of the small town of Ridgely, Maryland, suddenly elected to suspend its police force without much explanation March 13.

Three commissioners in the town announced the decision that the whole local police force was “suspended with pay” effective immediately and made reference to a “pending investigation by the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor.”

“The Commissioners are currently developing a temporary agreement with the Caroline County Sheriff’s Department to guarantee uninterrupted public safety services for the citizens of Town of Ridgely,” the press release reads. (RELATED: REPORT: 3 Boys Try Fixing Bike, Get Robbed By Armed Men)

Many residents of the town, which roughly has a population of 1,600, expressed frustration over the vague declaration, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

“What’s very concerning is that they didn’t communicate with us in an honest and open way,” Laura Cline told the outlet. “Treat us with respect. We’re adults — thinking, rational adults who deserve the truth.”

“We were blindsided,” Holly Justice, a spa owner, told the outlet. “It makes you question the integrity of people who are supposed to protect and serve.” Justice added that the short notice without proper explanation felt like a betrayal since the officers were regarded as members of the community.

The three commissioners made a second announcement Wednesday. They said the county’s sheriff department would continue to provide law enforcement services to the town “on an interim basis pending a decision by the Commissioners regarding the long-term provision of public safety services for the Town.”

“Given the recent events involving the Ridgely Police Department, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the Caroline County Commissioners and the Commissioners of the Town of Ridgely, are committed to providing continuous police services to the town’s citizens, ensuring their safety remains a top priority,” Caroline County Sheriff Donald Baker Jr. told WBOC. “Together with the Maryland State Police, the Sheriff’s Office will guarantee seamless and uninterrupted police coverage within the town limits of Ridgely.”