Four Montgomery County police officers have been fined "around $200" for calling their cancer-stricken district commander "Captain Chemo" and "glowhead" and committing other acts of harassment, Police Chief Bernard J. Crooke said yesterday.
The officers, all assigned to the Wheaton-Glenmont station, were angry because their commander, Captain Steve Fylio, had changed their work schedules from four-day to five-day work weeks, according to police spokeswoman Nancy Moses.
Crooke refused to be more specific about the amount of the fines, and at first refused to give out any information about them, saying there was no precedent for doing so. The officers' names were not released.
The fines amount to less than three days' pay for the officers involved, who were at the rank of either private or private-first-class when the incidents occurred last fall.
Crooke, who took over as chief of the Montgomery force last month, called the fines fair and said they were meant to be "corrective" rather than "punitive."
One of the incidents that led to the disciplinary action was the placing of a sign on Fylio's door saying, "Danger: Radioactivity." Fylio said he also received a memo containing the drawing of an "obscene gesture" and the remark, "Get the message, Chemo?"
Fylio has undergone cobalt radiation and chemotherapy treatments for several years and twice has been hospitalized for long period since the incidents.
He said all four officers involved are still stationed in Wheaton and two have apologized. Refusing to comment on the fines, he said he still has a "working relationship" with the men involved.
A few months after the incidents occured, Acting Chief Donald E. Brooks, who preceded Crooke, returned the Wheaton station to the four-day work week in force at the county's other police stations.
Brooks set the fine for three of the officers after the police department's internal affairs office completed a two-month investigation.
A fourth officer elected to go before a police trial board, which later found him guilty, like the others, of conduct unbecoming a police officer. The trial board recommended a fine similar to the other three, Crooke said.
The chief said he went along with the board's recommendation.