Frederick police chief’s departure bittersweet -- Gazette.Net


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The surprise announcement last week that Frederick Police Chief Kim C. Dine is resigning to become the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police was bittersweet for many community leaders who were saddened at the city’s loss but happy for what it means for him professionally.

“I can’t find anybody who doesn’t sing his praises,” said Alderman Kelly Russell (D), a retired city police officer who was a lieutenant in the human resources department when Dine was hired. “I think he is the most beloved public figure in the city of Frederick.”

Dine, 59, who has served the city since 2002, was previously a member of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. He retired there as assistant chief of police in 2002.

The U.S. Capitol Police, which has a force of 1,700 officers, is tasked with protecting the U.S. Capitol Building, as well as protecting members of Congress, officers of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives and their families.

Dine, who said he’s leaving Frederick in early December, will join the agency later next month. He called the Capitol Police one of the premier law-enforcement agencies in the nation, and the job a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I’m extremely torn,” Dine said. “This has just been a fabulous experience here. The bridges we’ve built across the community and the crimefighting efforts have been effective and gratifying.”

Dine’s salary in Frederick was $124,309 for fiscal 2013, according to city documents. A spokesman for the Capitol Police did not know what Dine’s new salary would be.

Dine, who doesn’t plan on moving out of Frederick, said he’ll always love the city but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

“I will forever appreciate the way the people here, both inside and outside of the department, have welcomed us,” Dine said. “[The city] welcomed the family, and it’s been a fabulous experience. This was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime unique opportunity ... one of those times you have to grab the ring.”

Dine frequently walked the streets of Frederick and was a visible member of the community, something residents appreciated. He often attended community events, even when not needed in an official capacity.

Diana Halleman — president of Neighborhood Advisory Council 5, which includes the Golden Mile Area, and president of the Golden Mile Alliance, a group that promotes that area — praised Dine’s frequent attendance at community events and for the way he listened to the concerns of residents.

“Frankly, I don’t know when he had time for family time because he was everywhere,” she said. “I volunteer a lot in the community, and everywhere I went, there he was. I don’t know if anybody else can match his presence in the community.”

Dine said he’d miss the interaction with Frederick’s residents that he got on a day-to-day basis.

“I get energized by the interaction with people, that’s the part of the job that I love,” Dine said. “Not everybody loves that, but to me that’s what policing is all about. ... I like interacting with the part of the community that needs us the most. I’m going to miss some of that.”

Praised by mayors

Mayor Randy McClement (R) said Dine’s presence would be equally missed.

“He’s been around — he’s always a chief known to be here with the people, out walking the beat,” McClement said.

He said he hadn’t determined whether the search for a new chief would be internal or nationwide, but would decide early next week.

“I haven’t had to handle this — a couple mayors haven’t had to handle this,” McClement said. “It’s one of those things you don’t do in an everyday basis. While all of our department directors are important, this is one of our most important.”

He also praised Dine’s dedication to the city and the department, which would be an asset at his new job.

“He’s always here,” McClement said. “I keep telling him to take time off and relax a little bit. The U.S. Capitol Police are picking up a very valued employee. He’s going to do very well in the department.”

McClement is one of three mayors to have worked with Dine in his decade in Frederick but he’s not the only one to sing his praises.

Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who hired Dine in 2009, said she hoped at the time that he would excel in Frederick.

“I’d hoped we’d have somebody who’d make a mark on the community and the agency, and he certainly has,” Dougherty said. “... The other great thing is not only did he transform the agency from a good agency to a great agency, but he has put up with three mayors and three different styles.”

Former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger said Dine’s department didn’t need a lot of oversight but it got results.

“He is someone who is more of a talk-it-out type of guy,” Holtzinger said. “I think he tries to utilize that. He’s a very cerebral guy; he’s a smart guy. That was probably his method of addressing issues that may have occurred around Frederick.”

Dine counts numerous accomplishments during his tenure in Frederick.

Major crime, including assault and murder, is the lowest it has been in the city since 1991, despite a burgeoning population, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since 2002, Frederick’s population has grown not only in numbers but diversity. The city’s Hispanic population surged 287 percent, while the number of residents overall jumped from 52,000 to 62,000.

Under Dine’s stewardship, the police department achieved national accreditation in 2003 from the Commission on Accreditation in Law Enforcement. In 2009, the commission named the department a “flagship agency,” or model department.

Technological tools have helped modernize the department, including speed and red-light cameras, license-plate readers and surveillance cameras in the parking decks and along Carroll Creek.

tlaino@gazette.net