ANNAPOLIS, OCT. 29 -- Elmer H. Tippett Jr., the deputy Prince George's County police chief, was appointed today to head Maryland's troubled State Police.
The department has been without a superintendent for seven months since Gov. William Donald Schaefer ousted George Brosan because he wanted a change in top management of the force. Schaefer complained as recently as Monday that he had had trouble finding a replacement, but today called Tippett "a fine young man," and the best person in the country available for the job.
In recent months, the 1,545-officer police force has been plagued with racial discrimination lawsuits, a training academy sex scandal, a sex scandal involving troopers in Western Maryland, allegations of false academic credentials against its crime lab director, and generally low morale.
Acknowledging that the police force "has some problems, and some serious problems," Schaefer said former Baltimore City police chief Bishop L. Robinson, now secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, had strongly recommended Tippett to him. He said he first met with Tippett today, and offered him the job after a brief interview.
Tippett, 44, said he believed the state police had "troubles," but no more than many police departments. He said one of his first priorities would be to try to obtain pay increases for state police.
Tippett is a Prince George's native who has served 21 years on the county force. As deputy police chief, he was in control of most daily operations in the 900-member force, and represented the chief in labor negotiations. He has worked as a patrol officer, a vice squad detective, a sergeant in the homicide-vice section, and in an assortment of administrative posts.
Robert Sappington, president of the Prince George's County Fraternal Order of Police, described Tippett as a man open to discussion and suggestions but who stuck firmly with decisions he had made. "Anything he's committed to do, he's followed up with. Of everyone there, he's the one I'd least like to see go. I'm happy for him -- it's a move up for him -- but we're losing somebody who's very beneficial."