Every seat at the Oxford Community Center was taken last night, but not for the reasons one might have guessed. Rather than having a sold-out crowd for a Tred Avon Players production, over two hundred citizens of Oxford meet with their Oxford Town Council on the seemingly abrupt resignation and retirement of their highly regarded town police chief, Patrick Maxwell.
With the circumstances surrounding Maxwell’s resignation considered a private personnel matter by the Town of Oxford and subject to a confidentiality agreement by all parties, the town council members were legally restrained from making public comments on the police chief’s department. Still, they opened the town meeting to hear directly from residents about their concern, frustration, and anger about the lack of transparency with Patrick Maxwell’s exit.
The Spy captured a few examples of some of the public comments made on Tuesday night.
This video is approximately 14 minutes in length.
Letters to Editor
Brian H. Childs says
I don’t know if we will ever know what happened to Pat. I do know he is a wonderful man and a professional and caring law officer. I lived on High St. just around the corner from the police station. When my son as a pre-teen acted out Pat came to the house to find a solution. Even when I moved across the river to Bellevue I would see Pat from time to time at the medical center when he would help with a person brought in because of an injury due to a MVA or other mishap. As always he was a gentleman and a caring man. I think the kind of public servant that he has been needs be treated with the respect he showed to others.
Deirdre LaMotte says
Wow, I do not live in Oxford but have been following this story. What you describe is a man who appears
so important to the fabric of a small community. I so hope you get answers because this is very disturbing.
Good luck and don’t give up!
Gayle Keen says
As a former Oxford resident, I am appalled at the way Pat’s sudden departure has been handled. With no fore warning, no input from the very people who elected you, I hope the citizens will vote you out or recall your positions. None of this makes any sense. Having known Pat as a friend, a kind, honest & caring person to everyone, for over 30 years, I say….the ones that need to be ousted are the Town Commissioners!!!!
Liz Hasbrouck says
This is my letter to the commissioners that did not get read:
110 Norton Street
Oxford MD 21654
February 22, 2023
Commissioners Jaramillo, Wells, and Costigan
Oxford Town Office
PO Box 339
Oxford MD. 21654
I am sure you are aware of the many rumors and speculation circulating around town and online regarding Pat Maxwell.
I would think that the “retirement” of a 34-year veteran from the Oxford Police Department would be announced well in advance of his last day, so we could wish him well. And, knowing Pat, he would be spreading the word. Since this hasn’t happened, and with his abrupt disappearance, anyone would reasonably conclude he was summarily dismissed. Or he quit. Or he was offered immediate retirement in lieu of dismissal. Thus, the speculation.
The “official” statement in the local paper on 2/17 actually left room for even more speculation. It is akin to the politician who explains his sudden resignation as wanting to spend more time with his family. Nobody believes it. But everyone believes some serious impropriety – whether personal or professional – took place.
To be honest, if Pat did something so egregious as to deserve being fired, you should own it and announce it without needing to go into specific detail. You should assure us that your decision (in consultation with legal counsel) was justified and in the town’s best interest. Yes, there would still be rumors, but at least you demonstrate that your primary responsibility is to the people who live here. Lack of honesty and transparency breed lack of trust. And, in my mind, that is exactly where you now find yourselves.
Dr. Michele Potter-Williams says
I have know Pat Maxwell for 50+ years. Pat is an honorable man. He is honest, fair, reliable and he does not lie, cheat and steal. He would not have announce his retirement without giving months of notice to the residence of the Town of Oxford. Pats sudden departure was, I am sure was not on his own accord. I have been a lifelong resident of Oxford and I know that the last 34 years having Pat as Chief of Police has been a blessing to Oxford residents. I think it is a disgrace that Pat was made take an early retirement and is not allowed to verbalize what has happened to him. I believe that the town manager and the Oxford Commissioners are totally at fault in making
him take an early retirement. I truly hope that the residence of Oxford have their questions answered and not ignored in the abrupt dismissal of Patrick Maxwell as Chief of police for the town of Oxford. I also hope that the town commissioners and the manager are individually investigated due to non-transparency and multiple issues taking place within the town of Oxford.
Paul D. Roepe says
Thank you for covering this story. I have only been an Oxford resident for a few years, and I am merely a part timer, still working in DC as a Professor at Georgetown, but next to our realtor and wonderful neighbors, Chief Pat was the first to welcome me and my wife to this wonderful town. Arguably the warmest and friendliest welcome I can recall. I would look forward to waving and saying “hi” as he passed by our house, if I was lucky I’d be in the yard and even get a friendly chat for a minute or two. We have been so happy to know that he was watching out for us and our neighbors. He Is a real professional that did his job extremely well, and the outpouring of shock mixed with warmness and sadness at his sudden departure is not a surprise to me. I am sad for the town, but thankful I got to know Chief Pat, if only for a short while.
Jayne Bourke Steeg says
Pat Maxwell has always been the epitome of professionalism, generosity and kindness. For years, he has managed to protect & serve with dignity, respect for all, sound judgement and a sincere commitment to the Town of Oxford. No one, except perhaps the town clerk/manager who has a very different reputation, has ever had a grievance with Chief Maxwell’s professional performance or character. He is an exceptional man.
To be forced from a position he loved because of an ultimatum, e.g., “retire with benefits if he agreed to a sign a non-disclosure — or be terminated without any benefits if he spoke of the matter,” all while the town clerk made an unadvertised, secretive, non-competitive appointment to replace him. This is simply wrong.
Because of the lack of transparency in Oxford government and legal representation, everyone — from Ms. Lewis to the Commissioners and the town attorney — who may have had a hand in this termination should be investigated for their involvement by the Maryland Attorney General’s office. The MD AG should engaged to investigate current and past practices that violate the law, best practices, &/or the Town Charter. Only then, do I believe appropriate action will be taken.
Overt nepotism via unadvertised hiring practices, non-compliance to the required permanent residency status for any Commissioner, and other matters & irregularities… in addition to Chief Maxwell’s pressured “retirement” truly must be investigated by the State.
In the meantime, town clerk Lewis and Commissioner Jarramillo would do well to resign immediately before causing the Town of Oxford and its citizens further embarrassment and potential scandal.
Pat Maxwell has always served in the most admirable way. He is an icon of the best of Oxford & has diffused countless matters & potential crimes before others even became aware of them… just by his extraordinary skills & demeanor. That he, above all others, should be singled out for such egregious mistreatment is symptomatic of a town government that has clearly lost its way and does not serve its citizens.
We were proud to call Oxford home for 14 years. This issue is now widely known well beyond the State of Maryland and will likely negatively impact Oxford’s reputation in the future.
We applaud the citizens of Oxford for coming together in support of Pat Maxwell and for being united and stong in calling to task the Commissioners and Town Clerk for their ongoing wrong-doings.
Rebecca Ellison says
Just FYI, the Town of Oxford has recently (2023/02/16?) added a 503 page pdf document entitled “Oxford Police Department Policy Manual” to the Oxford website. To view or download the document, go to http://oxfordmd.net/main/government and you will find it at the bottom of the page under the heading ‘Public Safety’.
There is a footer at the bottom of every page of the Police Department Policy Manual which reads ‘Copyright Lexipol, LLC; 2023/02/16; All Rights Reserved; Published with permission by Oxford Police Department’.
See esp. pps. 35-37 which discuss use of lethal force ….
Don Dakin says
Does this have something to do with maxwell’s termination?
Christie Bishop says
While I’m no longer a town resident, I’m forever grateful to Pat. Pat helped raise our children back in the day! He always had his thumb on the pulse but was reasonable never punitive. Oxford felt like Mayberry & Pat was Andy Griffith; you couldn’t ask for better.
I’m heartbroken over this situation.