County Executive Alsobrooks Names Assistant Police Chief Hector Velez as Interim Police Chief for Prince George’s County
Dear Prince Georgians:
Thursday, June 18, Police Chief Hank Stawinski submitted his resignation to me, and I accepted it. I have had the privilege of working with Chief Stawinski over the last decade, and I have enjoyed working with him. He has served our police department and community well and with great integrity.
Chief Stawinski created “Chief on the Go”, which allowed him to communicate directly with members of the community. He spearheaded the addition of two new District Stations (District VII and District VIII), which increased police service to the community and reduced response times. We sincerely appreciate his 27 years of service and wish him well. We have seen a lot of successes together, and I am sure we will continue to build on those successes as we move forward.
As they say, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Right now, we are in a different season, and to help lead us into this new season, I have selected Assistant Chief Hector Velez to be the Interim Police Chief for our Prince George’s County Police Department.
While we conduct a national search for a new chief, I know that Interim Chief Velez is immensely qualified and ready to step into this new role. Interim Chief Velez has been with this department for 26 years and has served at every level, from a patrol officer to assistant chief. After he was promoted to lieutenant in 2004, he was selected to the International Association of Chiefs of Police Fellowship Program (IACP).
During his time as a fellow, one of his most notable accomplishments was the designing, planning and launching of the first Civil Rights Advisory Committee Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. He continued his work on the IACP’s 2006 report: Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement.
I am confident that he will bring his background and knowledge to his duties as Interim Police Chief during this new season. I am also confident that we will continue to build on some of the successes of our community. In Prince George’s County, we’ve had a 50% reduction in crime over the last 10 years, and that is an accomplishment that no one can take away from us. We owe our success to this community and the hard work of the men and women of our police department.
We have accomplishments that allow us to stand out across the State and around the country, but we still have challenges similar to those that are woven through departments across the nation. Unfortunately, these challenges are not new, and some of them are painfully familiar to me and others who grew up in this community that we love so much.
Although difficult and sometimes frustrating, our challenges are not insurmountable. In this new season we will move forward with courage, honesty and an even deeper resolve to give our level best to the people we serve, who expect nothing less of us. We have a strong police department with intelligent men and women, but Interim Chief Velez also knows the challenges, and he is ready to address them.
I am under no illusion, and we know that there are some things in our department that are broken. I am committed to a comprehensive assessment to determine where our challenges are. Whatever we find that is broken, we will fix it.
As we approach this new season, I want to say thank you to the men and women of our police department. I will make sure that they receive everything they need to succeed, including training and healthcare, and together, we are going to hold ourselves accountable. We will do a lot of things right, but when we get it wrong, we will acknowledge it and correct it together.
I also want to say thank you to Prince Georgians, who continue to work with us every day to build a stronger community for all of our families. I want to thank you for your engagement, because Prince George’s County is strong due to how engaged you are. We have coffee clubs, we have civically-minded residents, and no matter what, together in partnership, we will continue to make progress in our County.
I want to thank you for your sacrifices, for your engagement, and for always demanding and expecting the very best from us. You are why we continue to aim for excellence and transparency. You deserve nothing less, and we won’t give you anything less from your police department and from your County Government.
I am truly excited about this new season for Prince George’s County. Together, we will build an even brighter future for our County and for all Prince Georgians.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive