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Thurmont prepares to begin search for new ranking police officer

Jeremy Hauck

(2/19) Thurmont has yet to begin looking for a new officer to replace Lt. Shawn R. Tyler, who resigned Feb. 10 following a disagreement with a Frederick County assistant state’s attorney over evidence, according to Mayor Martin A. Burns.

Burns and Thurmont’s four-member Board of Commissioners will have final approval of any candidate that Thurmont Police Chief Gregory L. Eyler proposes for the job, Burns said.

Eyler promoted Tyler to be his second-in-command 13 months ago. Calls to Eyler were not returned by The Gazette’s press time. An attempt to reach Tyler this week was unsuccessful, and the town did not provide Tyler’s reason for resigning by press time.

Burns had this to say about Tyler’s leaving: ‘‘I truly believe that the town will be much less safe with him not patrolling the streets."

Tyler resigned the day after Thurmont commissioners called an emergency executive session, at which they voted unanimously to recommend to Eyler to suspend and investigate a town employee, although they did not say which employee.

Tyler took photographs of shoes belonging to Daniel D. Jenkins, 18, of Thurmont in August 2007, immediately after Jenkins was jailed on assault charges. Jenkins pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on Tuesday.

Tyler told the Frederick County state’s attorney’s office about the pictures, but then deleted them. When Assistant State’s Attorney Teresa R. Bean, who was prosecuting Jenkins, demanded the photos, Tyler told her he didn’t believe they were of any value as evidence.

‘‘We did have a disagreement over whether they constituted evidence or not," Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith III said Tuesday.

Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies must share any evidence, whether ‘‘good, bad or indifferent," with defendants, he added.

‘‘We have ethical rules that we have to abide by," Smith said. ‘‘We put [Tyler] on notice of that."

The photographs could have been useful for Jenkins’s defense, Smith said.

‘‘My understanding ... is that they did not show blood on the shoes," he said. ‘‘To be fair, [Tyler] said that from the beginning. He was very forthright about it."

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