John E. McHale, who has been acting Prince George's County police chief since December, appears to have more than enough support on the County Council to be named permanent chief today.
Eight of the 11 council members told a reporter yesterday they plan to vote for McHale, who has been nominated for the post by County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan; only six votes are needed.
McHale, a former FBI official, was an aide to Hogan when the executive's first choice for chief -- Petersburg, Va., Police Chief James Taylor -- was rejected by the council.
Council members say that unlike Taylor, who drew criticism from both the police union and black community leaders, McHale's nomination to the $40,000-a-year job has generated little reaction.
"It looks like he'll go through easily," said council member Floyd Wilson, one of those who voted against the Taylor appointment. The only thing people are saying is let's get the post filled already."
McHale has been the county's second acting chief since Chief John Rhoads retired last June because of a back injury.
Council chairman Parris Glendening, one of the two or three council members who are undecided about McHale's appointment, said yesterday. "I still have reservations about the lack of general local police experience. I don't know whether a paperpusher under (former FBI head) J. Edgar Hoover is qualified to be police chief."
McHale joined the Prince George's County government a year ago as Hogan's assistant for police relations and as a part-time press aide.
He spent 27 years before that in the FBI and met Hogan when the two worked as FBI agents in San Francisco.
When McHale retired from the FBI in late 1978, he was assistant section chief for the organized crime division.