A decade after he was sworn in, and three months before his contract officially expires, Aberdeen Police Chief Randy Rudy has been told his services will no longer be needed by the City of Aberdeen.
During an executive session held Monday night, the Aberdeen City Council voted 3-2 to not renew the contract of the city’s longtime police chief. Rudy will serve out the rest of his contract at home, on paid administrative leave.
“Basically, he’ll not have anything to do with the police department from this point on,” Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett said Tuesday.
Rudy’s contract ends on January 24, 2011 and the city council was obligated to review the contract prior to 60 days before its expiration date.
“It was the decision of the majority of the City Council not to renew my contract,” Rudy said Tuesday night.
Bennett, who was among the three voting against renewal of the police chief’s contract, said it was time to “go in another direction.”
“We felt like it was a leadership issue,” he added. “It says nothing about the chief because he was doing an adequate job. We felt we wanted a change in direction and he might not be that guy.”
Although Bennett said “the police department is functioning very well,” he also believes there is room for improvement; especially when it comes to getting out into the communities they protect and serve.
“I want them to become more community policing oriented; interacting with the community. I’m not so worried about them hawking traffic tickets out on Route 40, let state police do that. I need them in the communities. I need those cars visible so the citizens can feel safe,” Bennett added.
“You do your best work when you’re interacting with the community you’re trying to protect,” he said.
Bennett’s recent conversations with city police officers convinced him he and the city council made the right vote Monday night.
“Suffice it to say, there were leadership issues,” he said.
“My sense is, there’s a sense of a weight being lifted and I’ve gotten positive feedback from the rank and file,” Bennett added.
Rudy was informed of the vote while in City Hall Tuesday and Bennett said he was “very much the gentleman” when made aware of his termination.
“We’ll certainly build on a great foundation Chief Rudy started,” Bennett added.
Rudy will make a final trip to City Hall Wednesday to turn in the remainder of his equipment as well as his take-home car. Someone from the office will drive him home.
Rudy will also spend time Wednesday with Aberdeen Police Department Captain Henry Trabert, who will serve as acting chief until a permanent replacement is chosen. Rudy has vowed to make sure there is a smooth transition, Bennett said.
“[Trabert] was told this afternoon he would be acting as chief. It kind of shocked him, kind of caught him off guard,” Bennett added.
Bennett said the process of choosing a new police chief will be a “very methodical” search to “make sure it’s done right,” but realistically probably won’t conclude until after the holiday season, sometime early in 2011.
Rudy was sworn in as chief of Aberdeen police in February 2000, following a selection process in which Bennett was also a candidate for the job. Bennett said Tuesday he pulled his name from consideration for the city police chief job a decade ago when he decided the job “wasn’t for me.”
Rudy was sworn into office during the administration of former mayor Doug Wilson. When Fred Simmons was elected mayor in 2005, he brought with him a new era of empowerment for the city police department. New equipment was purchased, new tactical teams were formed, and Rudy was said to have assumed a secondary role as Simmons, carrying a gun and donning a bulletproof vest, joined in on raids. Rumors of Rudy’s impending dismissal pre-dated Bennett’s election as mayor in 2007, but the chief proved to be resilient working with the new mayor and held onto his job until Monday night.
The following are the minutes to the February 14, 2000 meeting of the Aberdeen City Council (during which Rudy was sworn in as police chief):
SWEARING IN CEREMONY
1. Swearing in Ceremony – Chief of Police
Mayor Wilson performed the duty of swearing in the new Chief of Police,
Chief Randy Rudy.
Chief Rudy thanked all of his fellow police associates from the Maryland
State Police, the members of the Aberdeen Police Department, the Mayor and
Council, friends and relatives for being present at this ceremony. Chief
Rudy stated that it was truly a pleasure to accept this position of Chief of
Police in the City of Aberdeen.
Chief Rudy stated that there are many things that can be implemented to help
the quality of life issues within the community and that the Police
Department will be starting tomorrow with the “Adopt a School Program” where
our police officers will start visiting each of the schools within the City
of Aberdeen, and become acquainted with the staff and students of each
school. As well, the police department will be embarking on the Community
Policing Pro-ram, which will be kicked off with a two-day seminar being
conducted on March 6t” and 7th conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Community Policing Institute.
Chief Rudy commented that the Police Department will have a new Headquarters
soon, and with the building of the Ripken Stadium the police department will
be engaged in many activities.
Chief Rudy pledged to make sure the police department and its officers are
fair, just and are as professional as they can be. Chief Rudy also asked the members
of community to partner with the police department.
Chief Rudy introduced his wife Mary and thanked her for all of her support.
Mayor Wilson stated that the interviewing process was very grueling and that
the Mayor and Council are sure that Chief Rudy knows the challenges that
face him. Mayor Wilson stated that the HotSpot Program will start next week
and with those resources more people will be able to be assisted.
Councilman Bradley welcomed both Chief Rudy and his family to Aberdeen.
Councilman Kupferman echoed Mr. Bradley and stated he supported the Chief
Councilwoman Fender stated she was pleased that Chief Rudy was here, and
that she felt the city has a good Police Chief, and good policemen and asked
that the community help the police department.
Councilwoman Fender stated that the Police Department needs the community’s
assistance in fighting crime.
Mayor Wilson also thanked Deputy Chief Lawson for all of his assistance as
Acting Chief of Police and commended him on a fine job.
Mayor Wilson asked everyone to meet the new Chief after the meeting.