The chief of a beleaguered Maryland police department has been suspended with pay while the city investigates allegations of personnel mismanagement.
After five years as chief of the Seat Pleasant Police Department, Devan Martin is suspended with pay while the city investigates him.
“At this time, we are investigating his tenure, how he has managed and the personnel,” acting city administrator Stanley Mosley said.
The city council received a complaint alleging that Martin was not properly managing his officers.
Last summer News4 obtained a series of police dashboard and body camera videos showing a disturbing pattern of Seat Pleasant officers using force and abusive foul language with members of the community.
Martin defended one of the officers, saying at the time, “At a certain point you have to say what’s in the best interest of the government, what’s in the best interest of the community, and when you’re at that time, it’s OK sometimes for leadership to help people succeed elsewhere.
“The things that I think people have seen in the past of the police department are just that, in the past,” said acting chief Demetrious Harris, who is new to the department.
“I can tell you this, under my leadership, I have a very transparent approach, not only when it comes to discipline, but when it comes to the agents who serve this community, the agents who get involved in any form of ‘Misconduct will not be employees here at Seat Pleasant,’ Harris said.
Sources close to the investigation said Martin last month submitted a letter announcing retirement plans that he canceled after being suspended.
This isn’t Martin’s first investigation. In 2020, the Maryland State Attorney investigated him for misconduct. The investigation ended without charges.
Martin said he was not authorized to discuss this ongoing matter.
Martin may return, Mosley said.
The acting chief said his next step would be to meet with all officers and discuss plans moving forward. He is also interested in hiring new personnel to the police department.
Seat Pleasant’s longtime former mayor Eugene Grant was removed from office in October for missing back-to-back meetings. Grant has been at odds with city council members for years. Currently, the municipality operates without a mayor.