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Ex-Shepherdstown police chief turns in equipment, keys

August 18, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - The man who was dismissed as Shepherdstown's police chief earlier this week turned in his equipment and keys to the department's headquarters on Friday morning without incident, officials said.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lt. Tom Hansen assisted Shepherdstown Mayor Lance Dom Friday morning as Curtis Keller turned in his items.

Dom said he requested the sheriff's department's assistance because he was "anxious to have as smooth of a transition as possible."

Hansen confirmed he essentially served as an intermediary between Keller and the town's police department.

"He carried his stuff in. We went through it. I signed for it, and he left," Hansen said.

Keller could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Keller was brought in as the town's interim police chief in December 2004. Keller was named chief in March 2005, and former Mayor Peter Wilson said the retired Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputy was the search committee's No. 1 choice to replace Charles Cole.

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"I always thought (Keller) to be a reasonable, energetic person to work with," said Wilson, who presided over the controversial resignation of Cole. "We rebuilt the police department."

Wilson did not comment on Keller's departure.

Dom said Friday that Keller's departure came as a result of a failure to resolve their "differences in outlook" over a period of a month or so.

Dom said the announced resignations of Cpl. Kenneth Mauck, effective Sept. 15, and Officer Brad Dusek, effective Aug. 31, were related to Keller's dismissal, but couldn't elaborate on their departures. Dom said he did not seek Dusek's departure.

"I'm not discouraged by the recent events - quite the opposite," Dom said.

Terry Bellomy, who has been employed by the police department for about 18 months, has been named interim police chief.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Bellomy said. "We'll see what kind of difference we can make."

Bellomy said Friday he wouldn't second-guess any of the decisions Keller made during his former supervisor's tenure.

"I wish the former chief all the luck," Bellomy said.

Dom said the town is seeking qualified people to apply for a police officer position, but is strongly considering allowing Bellomy some time to prove himself, instead of forming a committee to hire a new chief.

"I'm extremely enthusiastic - more than I have been for a half of a year," Dom said. "I am very encouraged by the attitude and the capability of Officer Bellomy."

Prior to working for Shepherdstown, Bellomy, 39, said he was employed as the K-9 handler for the Martinsburg Police Department for five or six years. Before that, he worked as a federal police officer for the Department of Defense at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., and was a security police officer for the Air National Guard's 167th and 130th Airlift Wing units.

Bellomy said he also worked as a deputy constable in Pennsylvania.

A native of Nitro, W.Va., Bellomy said he has resided in Berkeley County for nearly eight years, and previously owned The Daily Grind cafe off Edwin Miller Boulevard.

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