Takoma Park, Md— The Takoma Park Police Department swore-in Lt. Andrew Powell as the Deputy Chief of Police Wednesday, March 6.
The ceremony began at 6 p.m. in the Takoma Park City Council auditorium and was filled with an audience of over 50 people, including six of Powell’s former Chiefs of Police.
After a few initial speeches by Chief of Police Antonio DeVaul, Capt. Daniel Frishkorn, and City Manager Suzanne Ludlow, Mayor Kate Stewart proceeded with Powell’s oath of office.
Powell said a few words to the audience after being sworn-in. He thanked everyone who helped him get to this position: his family, friends, and former colleagues, including former Chiefs of Police at the Riverdale Park Police Department.
In his speech, Powell mentioned what drew him to Takoma Park.
“One of the reasons I came here was because of the community atmosphere and the way the police department and the community work together,” Powell said.
“I’m not here to tell you how things are going to be,” he continued. “I’m here to ask you: what do you need from me and how can I make your life better?”
Former Chief of Police at Riverdale Park Terry Evans spoke highly of Powell.
“The day I hired him. I knew he would go places…,” he said. “And yes, he does have as many degrees as a thermometer… [he’s] done me proud.”
Prior to coming to Takoma Park, Powell worked as a commander with the Riverdale Park Police Department for nine years and has over 23 years of experience in law enforcement. Additionally, he is known throughout Maryland as an expert on topics such as Taser’s, Internal Investigations, and the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR).
“Maryland has a very specific way that internal investigations have to be done under the LEOBR… it’s a very esoteric piece of legislation,” Powell said. Powell is one of few in the area that understands the legislation, and he teaches allied agencies throughout Maryland how to properly conduct these investigations.
In November, Antonio Williams was named the Deputy Chief of Police in Takoma Park, but Public Information Officer Cathy Plevy said Williams left after a month for personal reasons.
DeVaul said to find a replacement, the department conducted a national search to find the best candidate. The department interviewed several former Chiefs of Police and other high-ranking officers but determined that Powell was the best for the position.
“His resume by far exceeds even resumes of former Chiefs…,” DeVaul said. “There’s no one that’s more experienced, more educated…”
Powell’s resume is padded with high-level executive courses in law enforcement, including the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the FBI LEEDA Executive Leadership Institute, and the FBI National Academy, to name just a few.
Powell has also received various commendations throughout his career, such as the 2015 Maryland Chiefs of Police Exceptional Police Performance Award and the 2015 Police Chiefs Association of Prince George’s County Investigator of the Year Award.
Powell’s interest in the position at Takoma Park stemmed from having known Chief DeVaul. They both studied at The Johns Hopkins University and received a master’s in Organizational Leadership.
Looking to the future, Powell said he may face challenges transitioning to Takoma Park.
“I think any time you come into a new organization as an outsider you’ll always face challenges,” he said. A challenge he mentioned was learning the culture of the organization. He continued, “But I don’t see them as challenges as much as opportunities to better myself and learn from the talented men and women of the Takoma Park Police Department.”
DeVaul agreed that there could be challenges but he said, “We do the same thing in Takoma Park as we do in Riverdale. It’s important that we understand that we’re united in this region.”
Powell said he is looking forward to his future at the Takoma Park Police Department.
“I’m very excited to be here. In my opinion, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve the community… I’m very lucky to be here,” Powell said.
DeVaul spoke well of Powell’s future.
“We’re thrilled to have him here…,” DeVaul said, “I could see him as Chief of Police in the future.”