'It doesn't add up': Maryland town suspends entire police force, leaving residents seeking answers

RIDGELY, MD - Located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the City of Ridgely has suspended its entire police force. Last week, Ridgely's three-member commission announced on the town's website that they had "suspended with pay the entirety of the Ridgely Police Department (RPD)."

This suspension comes as the Office of State Prosecutor launches an investigation into potential wrongdoing within the police department.

Laura Cline, a longtime resident of Ridgely, expressed frustration over the lack of transparency from town leaders and law enforcement, stating, "What's very concerning is that they didn't communicate with us in an honest and open way. Treat us with respect. We're adults—thinking, rational adults who deserve the truth."

Holly Justice, who owns a spa in Ridgely, echoed these sentiments, saying, "We were blindsided. It makes you question the integrity of people who are supposed to protect and serve." Justice, whose business is located across the street from the police department, noted that she would often exchange greetings with officers and consider them members of the community.

In the absence of the RPD, other public safety agencies, including the nearby Caroline County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Maryland State Police, have agreed to respond to emergency calls within the town's boundaries.

CCSO Sheriff Donald Baker sought to reassure residents, stating that his agency is well-equipped to handle the additional calls for service and that the Maryland State Police would also provide support.

Some residents have expressed concerns about potential slower response times and a reduced law enforcement presence. Crime in Caroline County, which includes Ridgely, has historically been low, with federal crime data indicating only four homicides since 2000. Ridgely reported a peak in violent crime in 2010, with a total of 41 incidents reported.

RPD, which employs half a dozen officers to serve a population of about 1,600 residents, has primarily focused on addressing minor public safety issues such as lost or stolen items.

The department's Facebook page includes posts showcasing officers participating in local events, supporting businesses, and sharing information about recovered items like keys, credit cards, and bikes.

The decision to suspend the entire police department has led to speculation among residents. While Ridgely has faced questions about its policing practices in the past, including the 2018 death of Anton Black in neighboring Greensboro involving a Ridgely officer, the current suspension has left residents eager for answers.

The town of Ridgely, known for its small-town charm and rich history rooted in the expansion of the American railroad in the late 1800s, now finds itself at the center of a situation that has drawn national attention to its issues of police accountability and transparency.

Gennie Woo, a longtime business owner in downtown Ridgely, summed up the prevailing sentiment, stating, "It doesn't add up. Everybody is skeptical about what happened. We just want to know how and why."

For corrections or revisions, click here.
The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
Sign in to comment


Powered by StructureCMS™ Comments

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Law Enforcement Today, Privacy Policy