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Holtzman to be sworn in as chief of Hagerstown Police

Officer had served as acting chief since September

January 17, 2013
  • Hagerstown Police Department's Acting Chief Mark Holtzman will be sworn in next Tuesday as the new police chief.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Capt. Mark Holtzman, a 23-year veteran of the Hagerstown Police Department who has served as acting chief for more than four months, will be sworn in as the new police chief on Tuesday.

“Of course, it’s an honor to be selected,” said Holtzman, adding it was both humbling and rewarding.

Holtzman, 42, succeeds Chief Arthur Smith, who retired in September after 12 years of service with the city.

As police chief, Holtzman’s annual salary will be $94,619, according to an email from city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe.

The police chief oversees a department authorized for 105 officers, with 95 positions filled, Holtzman said.

The department is actively recruiting to fill vacancies, he said. The police department also has 12 full-time and seven part-time support staff members, he said.

“I feel fortunate to work at a police department that has such a tremendous number of good, professional officers, supervisors and staff,” he said in his office at the Burhans Boulevard police headquarters. “They really make the difference.”

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“While I believe we do a great job now, there’s always room for improvement,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman said he wanted to continue and enhance several programs in the coming months and years.

Those include the Safe Streets program, which is geared toward reducing violent crime, by monitoring the actions of some of the city’s most violent criminals.

“If they violate their probation, then we go after ’em,” he said.

Holtzman also said the department will work to solve problems in neighborhoods.

“Oftentimes that’s overlooked and doesn’t make the headlines, but it is what matters to people and what matters to people in their backyards, in the alley behind their house. That’s what’s important to us and ... getting back to that a bit more and focusing on the problems in those neighborhoods are going to be one of the goals that we set for ourselves this year,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman grew up in the Hagerstown area and graduated from Smithsburg High School in 1989.

He was hired through the Police Cadet program in July 1989, according to the city news release.

After graduating from the Hagerstown Police Academy in 1992, Holtzman spent four years as a patrolman, followed by three years with the Detective Bureau.

Then he became a sergeant and transferred to the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, where he was a supervisor for six years. The task force, which consists of members of Hagerstown Police and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, has a partnership with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Holtzman then returned to the city police department and was promoted to lieutenant. His duties included shift supervisor and sector manager of the city’s East End. In less than two years, he became a captain.

From 1998 to 2009, Holtzman was a member of the Washington County Special Response Team. He was team leader for five years, he said.

Holtzman earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Hagerstown Community College and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore.

In July, Holtzman earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore.

In June, Holtzman completed the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., where he took leadership, legal and computer courses.

In a news release, Mayor David S. Gysberts said Holtzman’s appointment was an unanimous decision by the City Council.

Wolfe said the City Council voted on Holtzman’s appointment in a closed session on Tuesday.

Wolfe said city code states appointments, suspensions, and removals of heads of city departments “shall require prior approval of council.” She said the city code says nothing about voting in open session. The council sometimes opts to vote publicly on such matters, and sometimes opts not to do so publicly, she said.

Holtzman and his wife, Laura, have four children. They live outside city limits, but in Washington County, he said.

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