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Tyler resignation leaves Thurmont Police
 at half force

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch


Thurmont Police Sgt. Shawn Tyler resigned under pressure. Though criticized for his conduct, Tyler was an award-winning police officer. In the photo from 2006, Tyler accepts a State Highway Administration award for his commitment against drunk driving from Chief Greg Eyler. Tyler is one of only two officers in the state to receive the award for five consecutive years.

(2/21) Thurmont residents will probably start to see a few more Frederick County Sheriff’s Office cars around town since the Thurmont Police force is down to half of its budgeted patrol officers.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said, “I’m going to do everything I can to help the town of Thurmont.”

He said wherever Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler identified that Thurmont Police were short-staffed, Jenkins would try to have either direct coverage in town or more deputies in the north county area.

Thurmont Police have been plagued this year by illnesses, vacancies, resignations, injuries and officers on administrative leave, which have kept the department from operating at its full capacity.

The most recent of these is the resignation of Lt. Shawn Tyler on Feb. 10. Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper announced during the town meeting on Feb. 11 that during an executive session, ‘‘A vote was taken to recommend to Chief Eyler to initiate an emergency suspension, and investigation of a town employee.” He later noted that Tyler had resigned on Sunday following the executive session.

Mayor Martin Burns wrote on a local forum that such a suspension was standard protocol based on the commission’s desire to investigate whether there was criminal wrongdoing involved.

The need for an executive session came about because Tyler acknowledged deleting images of an assault suspect’s shoes from a police computer against a general order.

“The pictures should be retrievable and we are pursuing that,” Burns wrote. “This was not Tyler's case and because he got the pictures for another purpose he made an incorrect assume[p]tion that the investigating officer already had the pi[c]tures when he deleated (sic) them.”

Burns also cast doubt on whether assistant states attorney was prosecuting the assault case or pursuing Tyler. Burns wrote, “[W]hy didn't the prosecutor ask Tyler questions on the stand so he could explain his actions? and help try to save the case? Did the prosecutor not ask questions of Tyler for deliberate reasons? Did she leave him on the stand defenseless for a reason?”

Officer DiAnne Tackett was the investigating officer on the assault case and she is on administrative leave from an unrelated incident. Tyler apparently took his picture as part of an internal investigation of the assault case.

“I don’t always agree with Lt. Tyler, but I don’t think he got the right treatment,” Hooper said in an interview.

Tyler’s admission could possibly throw open the door for re-examination of other cases he investigated, though if it happens, it won’t be instigated by the town, Hooper said.

“It’s up to the courts whether they want to retry those cases again,” Hooper said.

At this point, the additional help the sheriff’s office is not expected to cost the town more money.

“I’m not going to charge for those services,” Jenkins said. “They’re (Thurmont residents) are county taxpayers, too.”

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