The following letter was prepared earlier this summer by Harford County Sheriff’s Office Lt. (Ret.) David Betz and distributed to deputies regarding statements made about Betz’s promotion prior to his retirement. The letter was provided to The Dagger for publication via a third party, but its contents were confirmed by Betz as genuine. A clip of the Aug. 28 debate with the statement in question is below, but was not provided by Betz. Emphasis is the author’s.
Tim Impallaria, President
Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Union P.O. Box 881
Bel Air, MD 21014
August 30, 2014
I hope this letter finds you and the deputies of the Sheriff’s Office doing well. I recently was contacted regarding a disturbing comment Sheriff Bane made during the recent Sheriff’s candidate debate held Thursday August 28, 2014. I am frustrated that I have had to take the time to once again dispute the actions of the Sheriff. Unfortunately, I am not willing to idly stand by while Sheriff Bane misleads the women and men of the Sheriff’s Office and community with mistruths focused on the promotional process of early 2012.
I am writing this letter to you hoping that you will distribute it to the union members so they may make an educated decision regarding the integrity and credibility of the candidates for the 2014 Sheriff’s election. I will trust your judgment regarding the method and timeliness of distribution. The specific quote I am referring to is stated below:
“Take a look at the two people, and I don’t want to cast dispersions (I think he meant to say aspersions) on anybody because one of them is in the room. But you know one of them that I promoted I had prior information that he was leaving the agency, to get another job. He got his lieutenant’s rank; within a matter of days he retired from the agency. Maybe the Sheriff knew something that nobody else knew. The Sheriff knew things when nobody else knew when he did what he did. Now, after the promotions were made there was a vacancy that was created for lieutenant and I brought the deputy in and made him lieutenant. And I think it was two days later that he gave me his letter of resignation because he took a job somewhere else. That’s fine, but I will say this, maybe regardless of what I know with the people that are on the list, we’ll just go with whatever the order is…”
Short of signing my name on a letter supporting Mr. Gahler; I have not been involved, nor do I have the desire to be, involved in this election. Unfortunately Sheriff Bane will lead you to believe he is omniscient and had the foresight of my activities before either I, or members of my family knew them. There will be some that see this as vindictiveness or retribution; I assure you I am not interested in mud-slinging, but rather shining the light on what appears to be another fabrication by the Sheriff. Unfortunately for Sheriff Bane, I have kept well documented records and timelines of the promotional process and my impending law suit of 2012. I would like to take this opportunity to outline the facts below and then you and the members can decide about the events and the Sheriff’s claim of prior knowledge.
• 2010 (throughout): I actively supported Steve Bodway and Jeff Gahler in the 2010 election.
• January 21, 2011: The rule of three is instituted.
• February 5, 2011: Transferred from the CAC to patrol as the sergeant’s position was upgraded to a lieutenant. (It should be noted that Sheriff Bane is on record stating the position would not be a lieutenant’s position and I would have to leave if I wanted to be promoted.}
• August 11, 2011: Lieutenant promotional application process announced.
• November 9, 2011: Lieutenant promotional eligibility list released (I was listed as #1).
• December 27, 2011: I was approached by a Sheriff’s Office Major and discussed the promotion eligibility list. The conversation indicated that I had received “the message” and that my performance over the past year on patrol was commendable and favorable reports were received. (Message regarding my political activities) He indicated that the “rumors” of me being skipped for promotion were just that, rumors. He advised that there would be no reason to skip me for promotion and did not believe that the Sheriff would do so. I walked away feeling positive that I would be promoted if there was an opening.
• February 13. 2012: Promotions announced effective February 18, 2012 (I was not promoted).
• February 14, 2012: Retained the Law Offices of Morris L. Fischer, LLC. out of Washington D.C.
• February 15, 2012: I submitted a letter to the Union requesting assistance and support disputing the denial of promotion.
• February 23, 2012: Presented at the Union meeting requesting financial assistance regarding a law suit against the Sheriff.
• March 1, 2012: Grievance submitted by the Law Offices of Morris L. Fischer, LLC. on behalf of this writer.
• March 7, 2012: Grievance “dismissed” by Colonel Carlevaro.
• March 9, 2012: My first application seeking other employment.
• March 19, 2012: Grievance appeal to Colonel Carlevaro submitted by Law Offices of Morris L. Fischer, LLC.
• April 17, 2012: Special Union meeting regarding the request for financial support – held at Fallston Fire Department.
• April 18, 2012: I was contacted by a sergeant who is a friend of mine and of Sheriff Bane. This sergeant contacted me in the late afternoon asking if I would be willing to meet with the Sheriff. I did have a closed door meeting with the Sheriff at approximately 5:00 p.m. the same day and the Sheriff discussed his reasons for not promoting me as well as requesting I drop the law suit. It was agreed that the law suit would be dropped if indeed I was promoted.
• May 1, 2012: Promoted to lieutenant –assigned to training academy.
• June 7, 2012: Received an offer of employment; signed retirement papers; and contacted Captain Galbraith regarding retirement.
• July 1, 2012: Officially retired.
Sheriff’s Bane’s claim of “having prior information that he was leaving the agency” is inaccurate, not possible, and an untruth. The decision to promote the third listed lieutenant, as well as promotions for other ranks, was made in late January or early February 2012. I naïvely believed, especially after the conversation with the unnamed Major above, that I would be promoted and possibly assigned to the Child Advocacy Center, since this was the sole opening and most logical choice based on experience alone.
Unfortunately the day of promotion came and went. My family made a decision, a $10,000 decision, to retain an attorney and pursue the violation of my rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and the Maryland Law Enforcement Bill of Rights. It should be noted that there was no commitment at this time from the Union; one should ask why I would spend $10,000 if my plan was to leave the Sheriff’s Office for a second career? This was based solely on my outspoken support of the Sheriff’s opponent in the previous election. As provided to my attorney at the time, all of my previous evaluations were stellar. Prior to the election, Sheriff Bane also considered my abilities to be professional and outstanding; proven by my selection as the Public Information Officer, as well as being selected to attend the Johns Hopkins Police Executive Leadership Program.
My intent was to enter the “DROP” retirement program with my fellow classmates from EL #8; it was not to fully retire from the Sheriff’s Office. I began my search for other employment after it was clear to me and others I trusted, that there was no future for me at the Sheriff’s Office over the next few years. Growing up and living in Harford County my entire life, I always wanted to be a Deputy Sheriff; it was a painful decision, albeit the right one, to retire. However, let me make it clear, it was not until the Sheriff unlawfully skipped me because of my political views that I decided to look elsewhere.
Over the past two years this incident has been mentioned in several articles and comments within local print media channel(s). I have not commented or offered any information pertaining to this incident in hopes to not relive the stressful time Sheriff Bane caused me and my family. The only person that was aware of my job search, after I was not promoted, was my wife; not until March 23, 2012 was my attorney even made aware.
Finally, I made my retirement announcement on June 7th to the County and on June 8th to my classmates of EL #8 at a gathering with my fellow EL #8 classmates the same evening. This was thirty- nine days, not two as stated in the quote above, after I was promoted. On June 12th I met with the Sheriff to personally tell him I was retiring from the Sheriff’s Office. I left this meeting satisfied that we both would move forward and leave the past events behind; again, I naïvely believed the Sheriff would be a man of his word.
President Impallaria, I have all of the above documents, excluding notes from my meeting with Sheriff Bane and the Major, which will prove the timelines, and information. I have left out a lot of other facts pertaining to the law suit I would have, or perhaps should have filed. However, this letter is to address Sheriff Bane’s claim of having “prior” knowledge of my “leaving the agency, to get another job” as his reason for skipping my promotion. In closing, as you and members of the Union(s) read this letter, I encourage you to uphold your own Courage, Honor, and Integrity and respectively voice your beliefs.
(sig) David A. Betz
Lieutenant David Betz (Retired)