Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CALL & RESPONSE: Doug Gansler Accused of State Trooper Misuse // PLUS: Police & Gansler Trade Barbs Over Accusations

JUICE #1: GANSLER'S USE OF STATE TROOPER DETAIL UNDER SCRUTINY - This weekend, The Washington Post's John Wagner dropped a bomb on Attorney General Doug Gansler's gubernatorial campaign by releasing the results of a Public Information Act request relating to Gansler's security detail composed of Maryland State Troopers. Below we provide a brief timeline of the call-and-response between Gansler, reporters, and the State Troopers, starting with the original Washington Post report (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler regularly ordered state troopers assigned to drive him to turn on the lights and sirens on the way to routine appointments, directing them to speed, run red lights and bypass traffic jams by using the shoulder, according to written accounts by the Maryland State Police.

When troopers refused to activate the emergency equipment, Gansler, now a Democratic candidate for governor, often flipped the switches himself, according to the police accounts. And on occasion, he became so impatient that he insisted on driving, directing the trooper to the passenger’s seat. Gansler once ran four red lights with sirens blaring, a trooper wrote. Another account said he “brags” about driving the vehicle unaccompanied on weekends with the sirens on.
“This extremely irresponsible behavior is non-stop and occurs on a daily basis,” Lt. Charles Ardolini, commander of the state police executive protection section, wrote in a December 2011 memo that said the problem had existed for five years....

JUICE #2: GANSLER EVADES MEDIA HORDE - After the lawless driving reports came out, Gansler called the leaks politically motivated, and at a Monday event announcing his choice of Jolene Ivey as Lt. Governor, he evaded a horde of reporters seeking comment on the story (link to WUSA9 video footage below):

JUICE #3: GANSLER SAYS TROOPER STORY IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE & COMES FROM O'MALLEY-BROWN'S HENCHMAN - After evading reporters regarding the State Trooper story, Doug Gansler appeared on Bruce DePuyt's News Channel 8 show yesterday to address the allegations directly. In his response, he stated the claims were completely untrue and called the State Police Lieutenant who filed the 2011 report a henchman for Governor O'Malley:
DOUG GANSLER VIA NEWS8: That story is 100% completely untrue. The Washington Post reporter knew it was untrue.... That story was based on one of O'Malley-Brown's henchman....
You can watch the News8 video of Gansler's response below (comments start around 6:10 in the video):

JUICE #4: MARYLAND STATE TROOPERS ISSUE PRESS RELEASE TAKING OFFENSE AT GANSLER REMARKS - After Gansler's televised remarks calling the State Troopers' Lt. Charles Ardolini a "henchman," the Maryland State Police issued a press release standing firm on their 2011 report:

State Police Stand Behind Executive Protection Troopers

(PIKESVILLE, MD) – The Maryland State Police believe comments made by the Maryland Attorney General today about the Commander of the Executive Protection Section are baseless and inappropriate.  The Department continues to stand behind the statements made by seven troopers who made written reports in addition to other troopers who made oral reports from the Executive Protection Section whose concerns were detailed in emails recently required to be released to media pursuant to requests under the Maryland Public Information Act.

In a television interview broadcast today, the Maryland Attorney General referred to the Commander of the Executive Protection Section as a ‘henchman’ and implied his actions were motivated by politics.  This reference to Lt. Charles Ardolini is unseemly and unacceptable.  Lt. Ardolini has served in the Executive Protection Section for almost 13 years, as a trooper providing protection, as a supervisor, and, for the last eight years, as the commander of the section.  He worked under the administrations of Governor William Donald Schaefer, Governor Parris Glendening, Governor Robert Ehrlich, and Governor Martin O’Malley.  

As Commander of the Executive Protection Section, Lt. Ardolini reports to Lieutenant Colonel William Pallozzi, Chief of the Support Services Bureau.  Lt. Col. Pallozzi served as a trooper providing protection, as a supervisor, and as a commander of the Executive Protection Section for 11 years, working for three administrations.  “The role of anyone assigned to the Executive Protection Section, including the commander, is to fully focus on providing for the safety and protection of the elected officials we are assigned to protect,” Lt. Col. Pallozzi said.  “We are to remain completely unattached and unaffiliated with any political party, cause or candidate.  To accuse someone in the Executive Protection Section of a politically motivated action impugns the integrity not only of that individual, but of every one of the dedicated troopers who works in this difficult and demanding assignment.  I have worked with and supervised Lt. Ardolini for more than 20 years and find his character and his commitment as a member of the Maryland State Police to be above reproach.  The concern of Lt. Ardolini was solely focused on the safety of the protectee, his troopers, and the general public.  His actions, which occurred two years ago, had absolutely nothing to do with any political motivation.”

The Maryland State Police believe the members of the Executive Protection Section work very hard to be impartial.  Lt. Ardolini’s conduct was nothing but professional.  His memorandum was the result of ongoing safety concerns expressed to him by his troopers over a period of time that culminated with actions witnessed by the Lieutenant himself.  He ultimately reported his concerns up his chain of command to the Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.  Lt. Ardolini would have been considered negligent in his duties had he not done so.  Lt. Ardolini did not make these documented concerns public.  The documents became public due to a request by the Washington Post under the Maryland Public Information Act.  

The Maryland State Police Executive Protection Section role remains that of protection, security, and safety, not politics.  


JUICE #5: DOUG GANSLER RESPONDS TO MARYLAND STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE - Yesterday Maryland Juice received the following press release from the Gansler campaign responding to the statement issued by the Maryland State Police, noting that he strongly stands behind the police:



Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Attorney General Gansler strongly stands behind the Maryland State Police and the members of the Executive Protection Section.  The only disagreement he has is with the conclusions and conjecture of an internal memo. After 20 years of working side by side with law enforcement, he has nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women who make up the Maryland State Police, their outstanding work, and the sacrifices they make every day to protect the people of Maryland. And for that reason, at no time, did the Attorney General ever issue any orders to any member of the Maryland State Police.


Below you can read the full 2011 memo alleging misuse of the State Troopers by Attorney General Doug Gansler:

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