Residents show support for Bowers

August 23, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SMITHSBURG - About 120 people attended a rally Friday night for former Smithsburg Police Chief Tommy Bowers who was fired Aug. 13 by Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers and the town council.

"I'll tell you one thing. We're going to get that man back," said Jake Keller, 51, of Smithsburg, who has protested outside of town hall since the firing.

Sherry Owen, who organized Friday night's rally at an auction house on Maple Avenue, said a candlelight march will be held tonight with protesters meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the baseball fields by the fire department and walking to Bowers' house.


Town residents said they were angered by the way Bowers was treated by the mayor and council where he was forced to turn in his badge and handgun to the mayor as armed sheriff's deputies stood by.

Residents said Bowers did a good job against crime in the town in the three year's he's been on the department.

"He's cleaned up this town. He's made this town safe," Keller said.

Several of the residents who spoke also described Bowers as a friend and good neighbor.

"How many times do you see a policeman get fired and people turn out for him like this?" said Tom Law, 60, of Smithsburg.

"It's obvious Tommy was doing a good job or else we wouldn't be here supporting him," Law said.

Before the rally, Law stood outside on the sidewalk beating a drum.

Several residents said they believed town officials did not like Bowers because he did not care how the long person lived in town when it came to writing traffic tickets or making arrests.

Bowers was not at the rally and Owen said he did not participate in organizing the event.

"I'm glad I'm getting the support, but I have no other comment," Bowers said.

Myers and the town council released a three-page statement earlier this week with a list of things explaining their reasons for his dismissal, ranging from allegedly failing to investigate complaints against the police department to not providing regular reports to the mayor and council at the June and July meetings.

Bowers has said he investigated complaints against Officer Shawn Tyler and found them without merit.

Owen said at the rally that the group supports not only Bowers but also Tyler who is going through a difficult time.

Tyler, in his uniform, stood in the back of the rally crowd, but did not speak publicly.

Owen said she had supported Myers in her election, but now is looking at ways to change the town's charter so that a recall election could be held.

Town residents will remember the mayor and council's actions at the May election if a recall election is not held beforehand, Owen said.

Owen said about 75 residents signed voter registration cards at Friday night's rally.

Town Councilman David Williams, one of two councilmen at the rally, said he was not surprised at the amount of heat he took at the meeting.

"I'm happy to see the people of Smithsburg getting involved with local government," Williams said.

"I'm happy to see people exercising their 1st Amendment rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble," he said.

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