Public safety measures and promotions were announced on Dec. 11 as Prince Georges County Executive Rushen L. Baker III took charge of vacancies due to retirements while also giving promotions.
Baker stated the same personnel would remain and promoted them due to their expertise and qualifications. Public safety in Prince Georges County covers the Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel, Homeland Security, Fire/EMS, corrections, sheriff, and police departments.
“Today I’m here to announce some changes that I will be making to my leadership team that will not only continue our progress but excellerate it,” said Baker. “Despite unprecedented drops in crime, our citizens safety remains my top priority. We are fortunate that we have a strong public safety team that has worked together over the past five years.”
Prince Georges County Police Department (PGPD) Chief Mark A. Magaw announced his retirement and became the new Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO), effective immediately by Baker. Magaw has 32 years in the PGPD and was confirmed as chief in June 2011. Magaw will stay as chief until Dec. 31 and begin his new promoted position January 4, 2016.
“The new role I have is all positve, but when you spend a large part of your life, when you spend 50 percent of your life with one family, doing one job, when it comes to an end, it makes you pause a minute,” said Magaw. “But I’ve loved every minute of it, I wouldn’t change a thing; the last five years have been the honor of my life to be chief of police here.”
Though crime overall dropped under Magaw’s tenure, the homicide rate now at 71 has surpassed last year’s number of 54.
Baker stated Deputy Chief Hank Stawinski of the PGPD will be appointed interim chief of police. Stawinski heads the department’s Bureau of Patrol and has been with the PGPD since 1992.
“The point in my professional life was becoming the deputy chief of police,” said Stawinski. “The great positive is that I’ve been in an integral role as a leader…there will be greater focus, enhanced strategies, but there won’t be dramatic shift change that will lead to chaos. We want to be moving in the right direction consistently and in a measured way.”
Gevonia Whittington also retired from her position as deputy chief of the Bureau of Administration to be appointed as director of Homeland Security. Whittington came into the PGPD in 1989 at age 19 as a police clerk.
“I am honored to have been selected to lead an agency that is such a critical component in the county government, and I thank Mr. Baker for this opportunity, ” Whittington said.
Whittington and Stawinski must be approved for their positions by the Prince Georges County Council.