Howard County, Md., Police Chief Paul H. Rappaport says he has done his best for his officers, but the union local that represents about half the members of his force says otherwise.
On Monday, the Howard County Police Officers Association voted no confidence in Rappaport. The 52-to-6 vote was the union's second no-confidence vote on the chief in a month.
The union maintains that Rappaport has failed to replace outdated communication equipment and to provide more powerful ammunition, to the detriment of morale and effectiveness.
Cpl. Charles Ellenberger, president of the union local, which represents 106 officers, also criticized Rappaport for stopping promotions to the ranks of private first class and corporal, which he said slows advancement.
Ellenberger said that Rappaport has refused to get involved in contract negotiations between the union and the county. Last week, the union voted 86 to 4 against a county contract offer, he said.
Rappaport, a former major with the Maryland State Police criminal investigations unit who has been with the Howard County police department for seven years, said the accusations against him are unrealistic and based on "ignorance and vindictiveness."
Rappaport said administrative changes he has made have streamlined the force and made it "one of the most professional in the state."
He said the department is considering getting a new microwave communication system and that the lack of advancement is caused by low turnover among senior officers.
He said that although he has attended contract negotiation meetings, he did not believe that it was appropriate for him to argue for the officers. "I'm not supposed to negotiate; I don't control the money and I don't pay the officers. I'm management, and no police chief worth his salt can represent both labor and management.
"I think morale is good with the exception of this small group of people who have an ax to grind," Rappaport said. "Most of my officers are good, but there are some who I have had a vote of no confidence in for some time."