A ‘grey area’ over new state police commissioner’s uniform

There is a controversy brewing over Governor Tom Wolf’s nominee for state police commissioner.

It’s a cabinet position, but Colonel Marcus Brown, 50, says he will wear a state police uniform and carry a gun even though he didn’t graduate from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

Brown has been wearing the grey uniform to work since being sworn in as acting commissioner by Wolf two weeks ago. Though he has a long resume with the Baltimore City Police Department and most recently the Maryland State Police, some say because he’s not a Pennsylvania state trooper he should not wear the uniform.

“I don’t know Mr. Brown and I don’t want to judge him. But he’s wearing a uniform he didn’t earn,” retired PSP Corporal Tom Stuckey said. “There are questions of whether he’s a legal law enforcement officer in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Stuckey is one of more than 2,000 people who have “liked” a recently-formed Facebook page called “He Didn’t Earn It, He Shouldn’t Wear It.”

“There have been other commissioners who wore our uniform,” Stuckey siad. “But in today’s day and age, I think people are more aware because of social media and through the fact that we’ve just gone through 15 years of war — our police, our firefighters, our EMTs and other folks who serve — you know, they earn those stripes. They earned those uniforms and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Brown, a Camp Hill native, responded to his critics Wednesday afternoon.

“I think it’s so important for the leadership in any one of these organizations to wear one of the strongest symbols of that organization,” Brown said. “The community wants to know that the person standing before them is working for this organization.”

The Senate still has to confirm Brown. Majority Leader Senator Jake Corman’s office released a statement Wednesday saying, in part:

“In advance of any vote, the Senate will hold hearings on Col. Brown and the other nominees, which provides an opportunity for the nominees to present and be questioned on their qualifications.”

The Senate Caucus will schedule confirmation hearings for Brown within the next month, Corman’s office said.

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