Controversy continues to embroil Prince George’s County, MD amid talk in early December that the incoming county executive will replace Police Chief Roberto Hylton.
In a televised interview, Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey said that County Executive-elect Rushern Baker, longtime friend of Ivey, was planning to replace Hylton as soon as Dec. 6.
“Mr. Baker will bring in a new chief and I think keep things moving in that direction,” Ivey said. “Addressing the internal problems in the department is going to be the key counterpoint to that.”
Officially, though, the word from Baker is that no personnel decisions have been made about the police chief or any other high-ranking position within county government.
Scott Peterson, communication director for Baker, said recently he doesn’t know where the talk started. Asked why Ivey made his remarks, Peterson replied: “That’s a question you’d have to ask the state’s attorney,” Peterson said.
Hylton’s fate may have been sealed by the events surrounding the department recently. Three police officers were arrested in November in connection with an FBI corruption probe of Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. Additionally, Fox 5 TV News recently reported that the FBI is now investigating several officers after a well-publicized video earlier this year showed officers assaulting a University of Maryland, College Park student following a Maryland/Duke basketball game. In total, at least 46 of the department’s officers are either suspended or on desk duty for misconduct.
Under Hylton, however, the county’s crime rate is at a 30-year low. He has broad community support, according to local officials. In an interview with the AFRO earlier this year, Hylton said residents had thanked him for his service.
“People are running up to me and saying ‘Chief, this is the safest we’ve felt in Prince George’s County,’” he said. “They hug me and say ‘We’re praying for you, God bless you and continue to work hard.’ People are telling me that they can see a difference.”
He has also voiced criticism of the departmental misconduct his officers have been accused of in 2010.
“I expect the members of the department to meet the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct,” Hylton wrote in October. “Our commitment to the community has been, and, continues to be, to conduct appropriate, transparent investigations, extracting all the facts.”