Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Bowie Police Department timeline

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Christopher Anderson⁄The Star
Bowie police officer Ramon Buntin (left) talks with Timothy Young, general manager at the Hampton Inn about some of the security improvements the hotel implemented at Buntin’s recommendation.
April 1996: Bowie referendum to create a city police department is defeated, with 63 percent of voters opposing it.

July 2000: Study recommends hiring contract police officers instead of starting a city police force.

July 2003: Some Bowie residents call for a municipal police department after a string of violent incidents in the city.

Oct. 2004: Bowie resident Diane Polangin asks the City Council to create a Bowie police force. Russ Ideo, president of the Citizens Association of South Bowie, asks the city to study crime statistics.

Oct.-Dec. 2004: City Manager David Deutsch examines possibility for a force, sending out questionnaires to cities with police departments.

Nov. 2004: City sends out public safety surveys to 2,000 Bowie residents.

Jan. 2005: Survey results in; shows 40 percent of residents are very satisfied or satisfied with the overall level of police service in Bowie, 30 percent are somewhat satisfied and about 21 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Feb. 2005: City analysis shows police department would cost $7.4 million per year. The report presented to City Council estimates it would take four years to build a 57-officer department.

April 2005: City Council votes 4-3 to place the police referendum issue on the November ballot.

Aug. 2005: ‘‘Citizens for Bowie Police,” an activist group, lobbies for referendum on police question.

Nov. 2005: City voters approve referendum to form the 57-officer police department, 77 percent to 23 percent.

Nov. 2005: City Council unanimously approves the police department’s creation.

Jan. 2006: City Council votes to hire Atlanta-based Mercer Group Inc. to assist in the search for a police chief.

June 2006: The Bowie Star reports that Herndon, Va. Police Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr. would be tapped as Bowie’s chief, but Summers later turned down the offer citing personal reasons.

July 2006: City begins new search; receives more than 80 applications.

Aug. 2006: The city announces the hiring of Katherine Perez, director of the Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office and former District Heights police chief, to be Bowie’s first chief.

Sept. 11, 2006: Chief Katherine Perez has her first day on the job.

Sept. 18, 2006: Perez is officially sworn in.

Dec. 2006: John Nesky, then chief of police in District Heights, is hired as deputy police chief.

Feb. 2007: The first six officers hired begin patrolling the city. The police department also moves into a temporary facility behind city hall.

May 2007: City Council approves plan to end contract hiring of six county police officers. The city had been paying $650,000 annually for the hires.

July 2007: The office of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Dist. 5) of Mechanicsville announces the Bowie Police Department will receive $500,000 in federal funding to upgrade its radio communications system.

Aug. 2007: The Bowie Police Department holds its first National Night Out at the Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie.

Sept. 2007: The department holds an open house to celebrate Perez’s first anniversary in office.

Nov. 2007: The department starts using a license plate automated scanner that identifies vehicles with violations.

Dec. 2007: Bowie and county police, county sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies conduct a joint ‘‘warrant sweep,” which results in 20 arrests.