The Maryland Senate, by a count of 43-4, confirmed the selection of Lt. Col Roland Butler as the first-ever Black Superintendent of the State Police.
Butler is a veteran in the Police Department, having spent almost three decades in the service in various leadership roles. He will take the reins of a department that is under immense scrutiny in the wake of a federal discrimination probe against it.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore said Butler “is the person to move the Maryland Department of State Police forward.”
Questions were raised by some senatorsand certain sections of the media who maintained that the State Police probably needed an outsider to clean up the system and initiate much-needed reforms, but Moore stood by Butler, and backed him forcefully.
“Lt. Col. Butler will work in partnership to execute his vision and reform the department by increasing morale, building trust, and addressing the concerns that were raised both prior to his tenure and during the nomination process,” Moore said, adding that Butler “has my full confidence.”
There are only 166 Black Law enforcement officers in a state police force of more than 1400.
Some lawmakers who are skeptical of the decision have stated that his performance will be closely monitored and there will be a review in July and December to ascertain the impact of reforms and the morale of the force.
“The governor has committed that if things do not improve in the department and morale is not better that there will be a replacement,” Anne Arundel County Democrat Pam Beidle, who is also the chair of the Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee said.
Butler has previously served as the chief of the State Police Field Operations Bureau commanding a force of 1000.
“It is my top priority. I’ve heard your concerns and the concerns of your constituents, and I’m absolutely committed to addressing these issues head-on. To begin, we must acknowledge and address all bias and discriminatory practices,” Butler told the media.