Former Howard Co. Sheriff Seeks ‘to Close This Chapter'

WASHINGTON — After resigning last week, the former sheriff of Howard County, Maryland, says in a statement that he’s looking to “close this chapter.”

James Fitzgerald announced his resignation last week in the wake of a report substantiating claims Fitzgerald created a hostile work environment by making derogatory comments about African-Americans, women and Jews. His last day in office was Saturday; he’ll retire within 30 days.

“I would like to thank the many citizens of Howard County for supporting me as sheriff for the last 10 years,” Fitzgerald said in the statement released Wednesday. “With a resolution agreed upon by all involved, it is now time to close this chapter. My family and I need to heal and move on with our lives.”

He thanked officers, staff and his family for their support, citing “countless emails and texts of support” that he said “put tears in my eyes.”

A number of county and state officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan, said they believed Fitzgerald should resign after the report by the county’s Office of Human Rights. County Executive Allan Kittleman had directed the county’s law office to explore “any and all legal means” to remove Fitzgerald.

The former sheriff added that “I appreciate local news for asking for my side of the story; however, media interviews will only encourage this story to continue.

He concluded by saying he was “honored to have served and protected” the county for more than 40 years, and advised the citizens of Howard County to “always take care of each other.”

Lt. Don Knott is filling the position on an interim basis; Hogan will pick a replacement to serve until the next election for the office, in 2018.

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