Last week, we reported (and opined) that the addition of an executive protection detail for Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen and Chief Administrative Officer Doug Smith was excessive.
We received reports that, in addition to the 24-7 police protection, a daily sweep of City Hall by a K-9 team trained in explosive detection was ordered. We went to the City’s Public Information Officer, Phill McGowan, for some insight.EOA: Have there been any threats to the Mayor, remaining employees, or City Council? PM: I am not aware of any threats, but I ask that you also run that question by Ray Weaver at Police.
EOA: Was City Hall swept for bombs on Monday by a bomb sniffing dog? PM: Yes, City Hall was swept by a bomb-sniffing dog on Monday. That is among the situational measures installed during this period.
EOA: If so, will this be a routine operation? PM: As of yesterday, the mayor and CAO had police protection. For questions about the future, I again refer you to Ray. EOA: Do the Mayor and CAO still have executive protection in place?
We followed up with Police Department External Affairs Officer, Ray Weaver. After a day-long delay, we were merely told that the questions involved operational details and would not be released.
The Mayor’s office is unaware of any threat, yet the Police Department (who initiated the protection details) feels there is enough of a threat to sweep City Hall with bomb sniffing dogs. To our knowledge, no other City owned properties were searched.
If there is indeed a threat, especially one that might include an explosive device, why has the police department been so quiet? City Hall is in a very vulnerable location with many businesses, churches, parking garages and schools nearby. Does Annapolis have a threat on its hands?
There have been many people speculating that this might be a union negotiating tactic. Others have suggested that the Mayor’s ego has gotten the best of him. And others still have suggested that Chief Administrative Office Doug Smith is the Karl Roveian architect behind it all.
The Mayor is the CEO of the City and the residents pay his salary. He campaigned, and was elected, on promises of transparency. To date, he has done an outstanding job on being transparent. However, bomb sweeps, absent a threat, are not routine. It is time that the Mayor pulls the transparency curtain back a little bit and explains the reasoning behind these moves.