Police powers were restored to two pregnant officers of the Montgomery County Police Department Thursday, temporarily ending a week long suspension of the female officers' rights to carry guns and make arrests.
The officers' badges, identification cards and service revolvers have been returned to the women while the department completes a comprehensive study on all forms of disability -- including pregnancy.
The two female officers had been deprived of their police powers and reassigned to desk jobs by their supervisors in what was described by the department as a move to protect both mother and unborn child.
The decision to restore the police powers came after a conference between Montgomery County Police Chief Bernard D. Crooke and Robert W. Wilson, chief administrative aide to County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist. According to a spokesman Gilchrist had "misgivings" about suspending the pregnant officers' police powers.
According to Wilson, Gilchrist did not request that the police powers be restored to the female officers, but agreed with Police Chief Crooke that the department's policy of disability should be clarified before any restrictions were imposed on police officers.
"We're concerned about the inconsistency in removing arrest powers," said Wilson.
Earlier this week, the police fraternity had protested the suspension, saying that officers had a right to protect themselves.
"We're happy," said Fraternal Order of Police President Lenny Simpson after the powers were restored. "The officer should retain his badge and gun and identification regardless of condition except when there might be mental problems."
Said Wilson, "It's clearly an issue in which there are several rights and wrongs."