Lt. Steven M. Doolan, former second in command at the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, announced his retirement last week effective last Thursday after a long-standing investigation into the improper release of building materials seized in a theft case.

Doolan's retirement saves him from the penalties recommended in May by an administrative trial board for his role in the release of property related to a 1999 theft investigation. The internal charges will not affect the terms of his retirement.

The trial board had recommended that Sheriff David D. Zylak demote Doolan to the rank of sergeant and suspend him for 30 days. Zylak had not acted on those recommendations when Doolan resigned last week, but the sheriff said this week that he plans to issue a final report in the disciplinary case. Such a report would be due by the end of next week.

"There is nothing enforceable that I can do," Zylak said of the disciplinary measures. "It's all moot at this point . . . but I need to finalize the process."

Doolan was accused of administrative violations when he released to his stepson some of the more than $20,000 worth of building materials seized as evidence from theft suspects.

Charges against those suspects ultimately were dismissed.

"Once their charges were dropped," Zylak said of the suspects, "those people came back to the sheriff's office looking for what they considered their property," which had been released on Doolan's authorization to his stepson and a friend.

Apparently because of his announced retirement, Doolan and his lawyer did not attend a hearing with Zylak that had been scheduled for last Friday.

"We had indication from Doolan that due to his retirement they would not be in attendance," Zylak said this week.

Doolan, who worked with the St. Mary's Sheriff's Office for 20 years, rose to the rank of captain and was second in command under former sheriff Richard J. Voorhaar, who retired in 2002.

After a criminal investigation by the State Prosecutor's Office ended last year with no charges against anyone in the sheriff's office, an internal police board made up of three police officers from outside Southern Maryland began the inquiry that resulted in recommended disciplinary action against Doolan, Zylak said.

"Throughout the judicial process," Zylak said of Doolan, "he was very professional."