The head of the unit that investigates inmates and employees in the Maryland corrections department announced Friday that he is resigning to take a job with the federal government, authorities said.
Jesse Ballard III, head of the Internal Investigative Unit of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, will leave in June for the Department of Veterans Affairs, officials said.
Ballard’s departure follows a federal indictment that alleges corruption on the part of 13 corrections officers at a state-run detention center in Baltimore. The officers are accused of helping an inmate, Tavon White, run a drug-trafficking and money-laundering operation from jail. Prosecutors said White essentially took control of the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Rick Binetti, communications director for the state corrections department, said there was “no connection” between Ballard’s resignation and the indictments. He said the VA offered Ballard a job before the indictments were announced.
Friday’s announcement cited Ballard’s “experience and integrity” and praised his professionalism and work ethic. Under his leadership, the investigative unit had stepped up efforts to fight gangs and root out corruption, the release said.
The release said that since 2007, 109 state corrections officers have been terminated or resigned, 53 since Ballard became head of the investigative unit in 2010.
Gary G. Maynard, head of the corrections department, called Ballard the “rock of the unit” and said he ran it “extremely well.” Under Ballard, he said, the unit “has been outstanding in its relentless pursuit of integrity.”
“I wish we could keep him,” Maynard said .
Ballard, a former Marine, joined the department as a corrections officer in 1987. He became involved in investigative work in 1989, officials said.
In a statement, Ballard said his staff of detectives and others “do a fantastic job” in trying to “find the truth” and prosecute lawbreakers.