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Gaithersburg police chief resigns

Washington Post Editors

Gaithersberg Police Chief John A. King resigned Friday, according to a city press release.

His resignation is effective immediately. He had held the job since April 2007.

John A. King (Gaithersburg Police)

The interim chief is Mark P. Sroka, a Maryland State Police major, the city said.

“Chief King has been an integral part of the City’s senior leadership for the past two and a half years,” said City Manager Angel Jones in a prepared statement that said King will pursue private sector opportunities.

Sroka will conduct "a thorough review of the police department’s administration, operations and resources and that he evaluate and make recommendations for improvements to department operations," according to the city's news release.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

-- Dan Morse

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 15, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , Internal Affairs , Montgomery  
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Usually, and not always, but usually, state police officials are NOT a wise pick for small town police departments. The Maryland State Police, while a fine organization, usually does not develope in its officers and officials the necessary skills to handle the most important aspect of police work, which is handling calls for service.

Gaithersburg had a fine chief in Chief King, and should have kept him.

I wonder how many other good city employees will be forced out of their jobs?

Posted by: | January 15, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Why did he resign?

Posted by: tradervic1313 | January 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

jnrentz, if you read the City's press release, it is clear that Major Sroka is stepping in only on an interim basis; I think that the State Police will do that for any local department that for whatever reason has lost its chief officer.

Posted by: reader178 | January 16, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

When is the last time a Police Chief had to handle calls for service?

Posted by: gpl2411 | January 16, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Chief King is a man of honor and integrity. He clashed with a city government that has neither. Why did Gaithersburg turn on a man who has done a great job from the first day he arrived?

Two clues:

A Mayor's revenge for the FOP endorsing his opponent

The City Manager's revenge for arresting her criminal boy friend

Chief King made the mistake of doing the right thing in a City focused on destroying the police department. He pushed back against pay cuts and other decisions the city manager made aimed at destroying the police department.

But why would they destroy their police department?

Follow the money. The Mayor and Council have indulged their desires with a lopsided budget and need to sacrifice the police to cover their mistakes. The bloated budget is loaded with waste that only a few citizens benefit from while the rest need the police to protect them from the gangs and criminals that Montgomery County pays to live in apartments in Gaithersburg. The city just published a survey that shows that less than a third of the residents use the recreation facilities that the elected leaders squander taxpayer dollars on.

Here is the bottom line: Gaithersburg will never recover from this travesty. City Leaders are ignorant of how quickly this information has been spread throughout the law enforcement world. The word is out. Stay away from Gaithersburg. It is run by fools and it hates the police.

Posted by: MarylandIsDying | January 16, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

It will be a long time before this police dept recovers.I see bad things happening for these officers what a shame. Possibly the city manager was embarrased over the arrest of her boyfriend?I think Mr. Katz needs to fire angela jones for haboring a criminal? Mr Katz needs to be dethroned for allowing this. sounds like we need a new mayor.for the officers, other agencies are hiring dont waste your time in this blood bath im sure drastic cuts are in store for you all,you heard it here pay cuts,cars taken while u can.

Posted by: police9302 | January 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If you people remember King was under investigation for his so called disability retirement from Montgomery County and then taking the job of police chief.

Posted by: MKadyman | January 16, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

MKadyman, if you remember Chief King was exonerated from the allegations fully. Chief King was above board throughout his hiring process. Both Montgomery County and Gaithersburg City were aware of his health and his application for disability retirement.

The entire investigation was started by bureaucrats who had axes to grind. It cost taxpayers a lot of money to find out that they lied.

So that is what you should REMEMBER. John King is an honest man who has not compromised his integrity and never will. While not a saint, if you knew him or the people who know him you would never make snide allegations long after he was cleared of them.

Posted by: MarylandIsDying | January 17, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Think about it. He is placed on admn leave unexpectedly and then he resigns abruptly. This has nothing to do with Angel's ex-boyfriend or his disability. You will never get the full story but this was not Angel's fault or the Mayor's. You can only judge him on what you know. This time you don't really know so it is only a guess on your part. The city is a good place to work.

Posted by: udontknow | January 17, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Those who respect King will let this drop. "udontknow" is so very right by suggesting that the truth of the event is not openly availble. Allow King to continue on with respect and our police department pick up the pieces left behind for a rebuilding. Above all, keep an open mind.

Posted by: TruthInTime | January 18, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

This will be just another one of Gaithersburg's dirty little secrets. Letting things drop allows this kind of thing go on and on and on. And that is what Gaithersburg is really good at, continuing to tout itself as the greatest city in the world even as it slides into decay.

Our police department is too busy typing up resumes and job applications to pick up any pieces. If you think otherwise then you are fooling yourself.

The only people who want this to go away are the ones who screwed up and now realize the mistake they have made. The genie won't go back in the bottle no matter how hard they push.

The city is famous for letting things drop until bullets are flying through apartment walls. But sometimes you have to face things head on and be a big boy. This one ain't going away.

Final correction, the city was a good place to work. Every day now city employees are grilled in private about their supervisors and peers by top management. Stalinesque paranoia is driving the best and brightest to seek work elsewhere. What happened to the chief is only a symptom of the illness that is robbing Gaithersburg of what made it special.

Posted by: MarylandIsDying | January 19, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Maryland Is "Dying",

Everything I've seen and heard about Angel Jones suggests that she's been working hard since her appointment to replace antiquated, informal systems of management with written policies and by-the-book supervision. Transitions like this are inevitably messy, and I can certainly imagine that there might some employees who could see this as making the City less of a good place to work.

Posted by: reader178 | January 19, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Keeping an open mind as "truthintime" suggests makes sense to those of us who have some. However, the one who continues to spew erroneous information and inflammatory comments throughout the web will never have an open mind. This person hides behind the presumption that inflammatory comments will bring out the truth. This person erodes the "community" in the ignorant. However, it's just an annoyance to most of us who are more intelligent than that.

Posted by: washedup1 | January 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it is time for those who are dusting off their resumes to seek employment elsewhere. Interesting how you may think the "dirty little secrets" are the city's. Maybe this is not the case. If it is a personnel matter the city cannot speak as to this sudden departure. Why don't you just ask King where he is going to work that was so special? The city IS a good place to work. The malcontents will always oppose things when they don't get their way!It is sad this has happened. It is a good dept and will remain so with those who choose the right path.

Posted by: udontknow | January 20, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

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