Montgomery’s Interim Police Chief Stepping Down
Laurel hires veteran officer to lead its 60-member force
Russell Hamill following his appointment as new Laurel Chief of Police at Monday's City Council meeting.
Via Laurel Police Department
Weeks after he was appointed Montgomery County’s acting police chief, Russell Hamill will leave the department in June to lead Laurel’s police force.
Hamill, a lifelong county resident who has a law degree from Howard University, has been with the department since 1986, and has served as assistant chief since September 2011.
Hamill was named interim chief of the 1,300-officer force in April following the retirement of J. Thomas Manger.
His departure comes as County Executive Marc Elrich is searching for a new leader amid a growing outcry for more oversight of the department in the wake of a viral video showing a female officer using a racial slur, a federal lawsuit accusing police of racial profiling and a new law passed by the County Council that requires an outside investigation of any police-involved shootings.
The timing of Hamill’s departure could force Elrich to name another interim chief from within the department’s leadership ranks until a new leader is selected and screened in what is expected to be a process that includes community input. Assistant Chief Marcus Jones has been suggested as a leading candidate to fill in.
Craig Moe, the mayor of the city of about 25,000 in Prince George’s County that is near the Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel county lines, announced Hamill will replace Rich McLaughlin, 53, who retired earlier this year.
Hamill’s nomination to lead the 60-officer department had the support of Laurel council members and the Fraternal Order of Police union’s Laurel Lodge 11.
“A quick look at Chief Hamill’s resume shows you that he clearly has the training and experience to manage this agency,” FOP Laurel Lodge 11 President Aaron Waddell said at Monday’s meeting where Hamill’s appointment was announced.
Hamill, 57, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
“This is a first-class city,” Hamill said at the Laurel meeting. “Everybody that I’ve met is first-class. I just hope I can live up to the standards that you guys have set already.”