ELECTION 2018: Endorsement of Tom Phelan in St. Mary’s Sheriff Republican Primary
The last time the voters of St. Mary’s County were given the opportunity to choose a leader for the Sheriff’s Department from outside the department was in 1982 when retired Maryland State Police Waldorf Barrack Commander Lt. Wayne Pettit, who lived in Chaptico, challenged incumbent Sheriff Joe Lee Somerville in the primary election that year.
The parallels between the status of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department then and now are similar in many ways. In 1982 the Sheriff’s deputies were led in many ways by subordinates to Sheriff Somerville who were untalented, inept and untrained and excelled mainly at frolic, misadventure and unlawful treatment of others in the agency and of the public.
Now, in 2018, most of Cameron’s Commanders excel at frolic, misadventure and unlawful treatment of others in the agency and of the public.
Sheriff Tim Cameron has dared to claim he had nothing to do with the violation of the First Amendment as a posse of deputies swept St. Mary’s County on Election Day in 1998 to rid newsstands of critical articles of the Sheriff’s Department and States Attorney Candidate Richard Fritz. In reality, Cameron was the midnight shift commander while the unconstitutional raids – the Errands of Suppression were carried out. To believe that Cameron was unaware of the raid defies belief and strains credibility. Since Cameron became Sheriff in 2006 he has repeatedly promoted those who took place in the newspaper raid and were judged by the United States Court of Appeals to be guilty of criminal conduct in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1983, akin to the Ku Klux Klan: specifically, in addition to Steve Doolan, Lyle Long, Richard Fritz and Richard Voorhaar, they were Michael Merican, Edward Willenborg, and Daniel Alioto. They and the others in their posse of paper purloiners ultimately cost the taxpayers more than a million dollars. Was the Sheriff’s Department so devoid of talented officers that Cameron found these who intimidated store clerks and trashed the First Amendment to be the best and brightest of his deputies? Cameron’s commanders even appeared at the Lexington Park debate and tried to trip up Cameron’s opponent on his understanding of the Fourth Amendment. Their brazen bravado ignored their own complicity in their violations of the First Amendment. Cameron played along with the cheap political stunt and added another notch to his own compliance and acceptance of unconstitutional conduct on the part of his key commanders. Cameron has never expressed any disdain of his key commanders who were constantly compared by the decision of the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to being involved with the Ku Klux Klan. Remember, Cameron has promoted them all, some of them twice. Actions speak louder than words. Cameron has put his seal of approval on the heads of those who committed errands of suppression in the dead of night.
Sheriff Cameron promised a full report into the investigation of the Wildwood Sharpshooters. Cameron said he was “mortified” that live rounds of gunfire from deputies conducting training on a nearby farm were allowed to penetrate homes in the Wildwood subdivision with one live round landing but a few feet from a baby in a crib. The leader of this misadventure, Capt. Steve Hall was suspended with pay for two weeks while Sheriff Cameron ‘investigated’ and Cameron never made a ‘full report.’ The reason that there was never a full report? It is alleged that the ballistics results show that a private citizen, a vendor for the Sheriff’s Department, had fired the live round. A possible reason for the malicious and reckless endangerment of lives in the Wildwood community, other than the remarkable ineptness of Capt. Hall was the liability the event posed for St. Mary’s County government, and possibility even personal liability for Sheriff Cameron and Capt. Hall. In other words, those who are in charge of the investigation, those with the facts those who control the flow of information about an incredibly life-threatening blunder – are those who stand to lose position, prestige, and even their own treasure for endangering the life, limb and liberty of those who live in Wildwood and of the small child who could had been killed. Any first-time student on a gun range knows to be sure of the background of a target. Why was the person who fired the round not identified? Why was that person not charged with reckless endangerment? Why was Capt. Steve Hall not terminated or at least reassigned to shuffling paperwork instead of assigned as commander of special operations.
How many of the criminal defense attorneys in St. Mary’s County will seek new trials for clients who were sent to prison by the investigations led by Cameron’s hand-picked commander of the Vice-Narcotics squad, The Deceptive Detective Captain Daniel Alioto? When a narcotics detective – indeed the commander of the division for ten years – resigns from his job short time for his retirement while under investigation for giving unlawful commands to his detectives, untruthfulness in criminal cases and failing to cooperate with internal investigations – that could trigger dozens of new trials for convicted criminals. The real tragedy is with tainted investigations and lost evidence – which happens so often with St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department cases – dangerous criminals who are now behind bars could go free. How long was Alioto lying about investigations? How many cases were plea deals concocted forcing accused defendants to accept deals cooked up by less than stellar public defenders with prosecutors hell-bent to rack up statistics regardless of guilt or innocence? Why did Sheriff Cameron and Major John Horne allow the careers of hard-working detectives assigned to work under Capt. Daniel Alioto to be tainted with the dirt of corruption, the haze of incompetence and the shield of deceit?
Sheriff Cameron stated that he knows The Rest of The Story and watched the video, viewed the still photos and read all of the transcripts of the case of Correctional Officer Kelly Lowther before he fired her from her job. Read the transcript, view the photos and watch the video and you will agree with the attorney for Lowther that the slap of then-Captain Michael Merican in an Ocean City bar at 1:30 in the morning did not occur. You will see that Merican’s nose was tweaked – and not by Kelly Lowther. You will see that Merican’s behavior in a barroom while clearly intoxicated was prima facia evidence that he should have been demoted or fired for his conduct unbecoming a commander. Instead of firing Merican, what did Cameron do? He promoted him again following his promotion after raiding newsstands and letting his totalitarian view of democracy decide that citizens could not read a newspaper of their choice – on election day. Women, in particular, should note the treatment of Kelly Lowther. Merican and his good ole boy team lied under oath in the trial board and determined that a ten-year veteran of the detention center would lose her job – and did so even when she was cleared by the video. Cameron put his stamp of approval on all of this and when the trial board recommended busting her in rank, Cameron overruled the trial board and fired her. Women should note the complete lack of female and minorities in the ranks of the Sheriff’s department – except at the jail – where recent Sheriff’s allow blacks and women to work to make their hiring numbers balance. In the ranks of deputies, nary a black or female exists and could easily be swept away by an occasional gust of wind. Cameron has repeatedly stated that he can’t find qualified minorities. Really? Yes, that is what he says. Just look at his photos of the fat white guys in all of the command positions. The proof is in the pudding. If he can’t find qualified minorities to work as deputies in his first three-four-year terms, when will he find them? This year, Cameron pulled out another dog and pony show and put on a big effort to honor Sheriff Joe Lee Somerville as the first black elected Sheriff in Maryland. Somehow the public was supposed to suddenly turn a blind eye to the rampant discrimination in hiring and promotions conducted by Major John Horne and Sheriff Cameron since 2006. Sheriff Somerville was deserving of recognition, even if it was just a political stunt conducted by Cameron. This was a risk-free stunt for Cameron as few blacks vote in the GOP primary, but the calculations of Crafty Cameron have not included the many people of fairness who are Republican and have great disdain for such chicanery.
In the case of John Edison, Cameron failed to act to fire Deputy William Raddatz for lying in official court documents and to prosecutors in his statement that Edison had confessed to the rape of two girls. When it came time for the jury to learn the truth, Edison was found innocent but only after spending six months in jail after he was lucky enough to hire the Gunslinger Lawyer Kevin J. McDevitt, who pursued and proved Edison’s innocence in court. Cameron recently said at the debate in Lexington Park that he would not tolerate any lies even little white lies, but the truth of the matter is that when Cameron made that statement, he was lying. He has repeatedly endured the lies of Merican, Raddatz, and Alioto.
When Cameron was elected in 2006, he promised the immediate release of the State Prosecutor’s report into Where’s the Loot?. The Loot Scandal involved where Capt. Steve Doolan gave $80,000 worth of building materials which had been seized from drug dealer Wendell Ford in a raid, stored in police property held – to his best friend and to Doolan’s stepson. Other deputies also stole some of the seized evidence and took it home to build decks and garages. In essence, Doolan and other deputies divided up The Loot just as a den of pirates in the 1800’s divided up treasure looted from merchant ships. These deputies were criminals and skated. None were arrested, charged or went to jail. There was a mad rush to bring items back after ST. MARY’S TODAY revealed the crimes committed by the deputies. The State Prosecutor gave the report to Sheriff David Zylak and to States Attorney Richard Fritz. The results were that Sheriff Voorhaar gave up any idea of running for a third term and suspended Doolan and put him to work answering the phone on midnight shift until an investigation was completed. Zylak won the 2002 election. Doolan retired when Zylak says he threatened to fire him. Zylak never released the State Prosecutors report into the Loot Scandal. Fritz didn’t either as Doolan’s wife was his campaign treasurer. What is Cameron concealing? Who is he covering for? The question remains: why Cameron has continued to make up excuses as to why he hasn’t released the report. He even said one time that it was lost, then it was in the mail, the only excuse he hasn’t used was that his dog ate it.
Cameron has played fast and loose with the truth whenever it serves him and advances his resume, his career and protects his wallet from potential liability, as in the Wildwood Sharpshooters case.
Tom Phelan has extensive education in people and mission management. His background as a military commander has sent him to command groups of people from 150 to 700 while bringing forth accomplishment and performance in short order.
Bringing in a new Sheriff such as Phelan will end the good ole boy system in the Sheriff’s Department and provide intelligent management of the law enforcement officers and the jail. Phelan will know how to discover who are the workers and who are the windbags and non-producers. Phelan has years of administrative experience at putting the right person at the right job and providing the proper training to be successful rather than worrying about who is in and who is out in the good ole boy’s club.
Most of all Tom Phelan will be a fresh, untainted open mind diving down into every nook and cranny before he does any reorganization.
Cameron has played games with the truth, and when asked why he wants an unprecedented fourth term in office he responded: to plan his succession, to help his successors. Cameron worried that all of his top commanders would be retiring next year as if that was supposed to cement his own value. Cameron has been the one responsible for promoting idiots and tolerating incompetence and corruption. It’s time to cut off the head of the snake. Vote for Tom Phelan in the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Primary Election.