Nominee for Head of MSP Will Focus on Diversity - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Nominee for Head of MSP Will Focus on Diversity

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan's nominee to lead the Maryland State Police said Tuesday he will focus on diversity in the agency and be sensitive to issues of trust between police and state residents.

Col. William Pallozzi, who has risen through the ranks over a 25-year-career with the state police, said recent events involving law enforcement in other parts of the country have underscored the importance of police maintaining lines of communication with the public they serve.

The killings of two unarmed black men by white police officers in Missouri and in New York this summer touched off protests and a national debate over police conduct that intensified after grand juries declined to indict the officers. Pallozzi said the events have forced law enforcement to look for ways to connect with the public.

"I think as law enforcement this timing has forced all of us to kind of look internally and look at ways, you know, we can open up those lines of communication," Pallozzi said. "I personally believe diversity is a huge part of that."

Pallozzi will take the helm as state agencies have been told to find 2 percent in budget cuts across the board. Pallozzi said that in a recent meeting, the governor emphasized budget concerns.

"Obviously, with the state police, the bulk of it is a personnel issue, so the goal is to try to see where we can realize efficiencies without affecting services or touching any personnel that are currently employed within the state police," Pallozzi said.

During Hogan's campaign for governor, he was repeatedly criticized by his Democratic opponent in ads that suggested Hogan would try to roll back a sweeping gun-control law passed in Maryland in 2013. Hogan vigorously denied the ads, saying he was focused on getting the state's fiscal house in order - not changing laws already on the books. On the campaign trail, Hogan was asked whether he would appoint a state police superintendent sympathetic to gun owners and whether he would make it easier to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"I can tell you that there was no immediate or detailed conversation about any action on gun laws in my meeting with the governor. It was focused specifically on the budget, and that is his first priority," Pallozzi said Tuesday.

Pallozzi began his career as a patrol trooper in 1989. He has held various supervisory and leadership positions. They include commander of the Executive Protection Division, chief of staff in the Office of the Superintendent and chief of the Criminal Investigative Bureau. He also has been chief of the Support Services Bureau.

Pallozzi's nomination requires Senate confirmation.

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