Maryland Town Suspends Their Police Force

( – The town of Ridgely, Maryland in Caroline County suspended its entire police force with no notice or explanation. A post was made on the town’s website last week saying the Commissioners of the town suspended the entire police department, with pay, effective immediately, “pending investigation by the Office of State Prosecutor.”

Residents have spoken out expressing their disappointment, confusion, and frustration. Laura Cline said she is disappointed with the Commissioners for not communicating with the town. She believes the town residents are “thinking, rational adults who deserve the truth.” Another resident and business owner, Holly Justice, expressed her concern to the Associated Press saying the decision was abrupt and caused her to “question the integrity of people who are supposed to protect and serve.”

The town of Ridgely has a population of just over 1600 and had been protected by a force of six police officers until the sudden suspension. The town will now be served by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. Residents are concerned about longer response times and the town becoming a target for criminal activity. Caroline County Sheriff David Baker claims his office is ready and able to handle calls from Ridgley and that Maryland State Police will assist when necessary.

The crime rate in Caroline County has been remarkably low for decades. Federal crime data records show the county only reported four homicides in the past 24 years. Other issues requiring police involvement have been minor public safety issues and lost or stolen items. The police department in Ridgeley was usually present at community events and supported local businesses.

Gary Manos, the former police chief, was involved in the death of a 19-year-old man, Anton Black. Black died of a “sudden cardiac arrest” after being held down for more than five minutes by the former Ridgley police chief and two off-duty officers from the nearby towns of Centerville and Greensboro. The family of the deceased was awarded $5 million after winning a wrongful death lawsuit against the three towns.

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