Gov. Wolf sticks by state police nominee, taking heat for donning uniform

    A state police uniform and a couple of yard signs are locking Pennsylvania Senate Republicans and the governor’s office in another standoff over the man picked to lead the State Police.

     

    Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday he won’t withdraw the nomination of acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown, as the GOP Senate majority leader requested. According to a spokesman, Wolf told reporters, “I don’t understand it. You can always find some reason to criticize somebody.”

    Wolf continued: “I chose him because he was a beat cop in Baltimore…He was head of the Maryland State Police, he’s had great experience.”

    Brown faces mounting criticism from within his own agency and among retired troopers for wearing the state police uniform, despite not coming up within the agency’s ranks.

    “I’ve heard feedback on both sides of the issue, but I think the importance of wearing the uniform — I believe it’s almost an obligation of the head of the agency to wear it,” said Brown in an interview last month. “I’ll work every single day to earn the respect of the troopers out here that wear the uniform.”

    ABC27 in Harrisburg first reported Thursday that Brown had removed two yard signs critical of his decision from his Cumberland County neighborhood. In a written statement, Brown said he took down the signs because they were placed near where his children wait for their school bus. He called his move a mistake.

    “My actions clearly did not reflect well on me or the organization I represent, and I regret that,” said Brown. “My family was placed in fear; I reacted as a father to protect my children and my family. Local law enforcement was immediately notified and the signs were turned over to them.”

    Senate Republican leaders said it showed questionable judgment, and they’re asking Wolf to strike Brown’s nomination.

    “If he were our top law enforcement officer, and he were to be challenged,” said Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher, “what would his response be at that point?”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.