Capitol Police are counting on Frederick Police Chief Dine to provide a fresh set of eyes for the force of about 1,775 sworn officers and 370 non-sworn employees.
Dine’s arrival did create some anxiety within the ranks, said Kelly Russell, who served the Frederick Police Department from 1983 to 2005 and is now a city alderman.
“There was a lot of trepidation about someone not from the inside coming in from the outside, not knowing the culture,” Russell recalled. “Everyone had that sort of fear, but [Dine] came in here and ... I knew instantly that this was going to be something completely different than what we’d had before.”
In the years that followed, Dine repaired relationships that had been broken during Raffensberger’s tenure. He introduced the concept of “community policing,” emphasizing face-to-face contact, a holistic approach to crime-solving and a sense that everyone has a shared stake in keeping the peace.
In 2009, the Frederick News-Post partnered with the police department to regularly print information regarding Frederick’s “most wanted” criminals; by April 2012, 200 of them had been arrested.
Dine also opened himself up to the media to share his perspective on issues. He even suggested he might like to change the Frederick Police Department uniform policy to let officers wear shorts in the sweltering summer heat.
The Capitol Police’s current situation is not nearly as grim as Frederick’s was, but some similarities signal that Dine might have been picked for his experience with rebuilding bridges.
Insiders say Morse, the former Capitol Police chief, was notoriously closemouthed beyond his inner circle and fostered a business-as-usual approach to decision-making, culminating in a 2008 union-commissioned survey that gave the chief overwhelmingly low marks for his leadership style.
When Morse’s deputy, Tom Reynolds, was tapped to serve as acting chief, he inherited a police force rife with ill will. Officers accused Capitol Division supervisors of enforcing made-up policies, and the union cried foul over a 1,000-page packet of new directives that Morse signed off on shortly before his departure.
Reynolds, who was in the running to take on the police chief position permanently, was ultimately able to help close some old wounds and show all parties that a severe communication breakdown had led to some of the most crippling tensions.
But he was passed over in favor of an experienced officer who can provide a fresh set of eyes for the force of about 1,775 sworn officers and 370 non-sworn employees.
“The Capitol Police doesn’t need an upheaval. This is a good, solid department and we need a steady hand to continue in that direction,” Gainer said. “But we need someone who has the perspective not to say, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it.’”
Dine holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., and a master’s degree from American University. During his time at American, he studied abroad in England at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. Later, he graduated from the FBI National Academy.
According to Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, Dine will continue to live in Frederick with his wife, a former NASA scientist. The couple has two college-age daughters.