Controversial Wolf nominee for state police chief will go to full Pa. Senate

     Marcus Brown speaks before the Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee during his confirmation hearing for State Police Commissioner on Wednesday in Harrisburg. The Law and Justice Committee unanimously sent Brown's nomination to the full Senate, but without a recommendation that he be confirmed. Senators will determine whether Brown can serve as the full, permanent commissioner, or in an acting capacity. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

    Marcus Brown speaks before the Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee during his confirmation hearing for State Police Commissioner on Wednesday in Harrisburg. The Law and Justice Committee unanimously sent Brown's nomination to the full Senate, but without a recommendation that he be confirmed. Senators will determine whether Brown can serve as the full, permanent commissioner, or in an acting capacity. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

    Gov. Tom Wolf’s choice to lead the Pennsylvania State Police responded to tough questions from skeptical Republican senators who, like the troopers union, have asked the Democratic governor to withdraw Col. Marcus Brown as his nominee.

    Questions from Senate Law and Justice Committee members Wednesday included Brown’s position on gun control laws, the death penalty and his Baltimore city pension deal.

    In the end, the panel decided not to support the nomination, instead leaving the decision up to the full Senate.

    Senate Majority Leader Joseph Scarnati and other Republicans, as well as the State Troopers Association, have said they oppose Brown’s nomination for various reasons — including wearing the Pennsylvania State Police uniform despite not attending the State Police Academy in Hershey.

    “You have a very, very impressive resume, on which I commend you,” said Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York. “But I will tell you that today, that when the vote comes for your confirmation, I will be casting a negative vote. And my main reason is focused around the uniform issue.”

    Brown, the acting police commissioner, said he wears the uniform to honor the force, a common practice for most law enforcement agency leaders.

    Brown also addressed, yet again, his decision to take down signs critical of his nomination posted in March near his Camp Hill home.

    If the full Senate doesn’t vote by Tuesday, Brown will continue to serve in an acting capacity and Wolf would have to resubmit the nomination.

    Wolf is standing by Brown, who said he’s always followed the law and suggests he should be judged on his qualifications, like previous nominees.

    Brown is the former No. 2 in the Baltimore Police Department and the former Maryland State Police superintendent.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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