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Mayor: York City's police commissioner to resign

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

York City Police Commissioner Osborne "Moe" Robinson III has indicated he is resigning, according to a statement released Tuesday evening by York City officials.

"Today in a meeting at 1 o'clock, Commissioner Robinson shared his intentions of resigning from the York City Police Department," York Mayor Michael Helfrich said in the statement. "The city and Commissioner Robinson are working out details of his departure."

Robinson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday. A message left on his cellphone wasn't returned.

York City Police Commissioner Osborne "Moe" Robinson

The mayor's statement was sent in an email that also read, "There will be no further comment or response to press inquiries until an additional statement is released from this office."

On Wednesday, the mayor released a follow-up statement announcing he has chosen York City Police Capt. Daniel Aikey to serve as acting chief until a permanent replacement can be found.

Aikey was hired by York City Police in January 1994 and has risen through the ranks as a corporal, sergeant and lieutenant.

York City Council President Henry Nixon said on Tuesday evening he'd received some information and seen social media postings about Robinson's resignation but hadn't heard any official word about it.

"I've had people say 'thank you,' as if I had a part in that," he said, then clarified that he did not, although he's become critical of the commissioner.

'Disenchanted': "When he was appointed I was very hopeful. I was very pleased we would have an African-American commissioner," Nixon told The York Dispatch. "As time went on, I became more and more disenchanted with him, for his disdain for council … (and) his bad attitude."

Nixon said he'd also "heard some rumblings" from city police officers about Robinson, who spent a career at the Baltimore City Police Department, but chalked that up to the idea that "everyone hates the new boss."

York City Council President Henry Nixon

Nixon asked Robinson whether he'd met every police officer on the force, "and he could not tell me that he had," the council president said.

"There are a hundred cops. What (was he) doing for six months?" Nixon said. "He danced around my question. That just added fuel to my sense of maybe this guy's not the right guy."

Nixon confirmed for The York Dispatch that he had been advised Robinson brought in consultants who were with Baltimore City Police when Robinson worked there.

'Questionable' consultants? The consultants were supposed to teach city detectives how to solve homicides.

"Our (clearance) rate is something like 66%. Theirs was 33%, so I don't know how they were going to improve our police force," Nixon said. "Plus, they have very questionable backgrounds."

The York City Council wasn't asked about approving money for the consultants, according to Nixon, who said he hadn't heard how much those consultants intended to charge. But he said that in general, consultants making $10,000 or $20,000 isn't unheard of.

He explained that if money for the consultants was coming from a specific line item in the existing police budget, such as the training budget, then the council would not have to be notified.

Trainings denied? Nixon said he'd also been told Robinson was denying a number of various training requests for officers.

Nixon said he also asked Robinson how much police-department money he spent "on all that new furniture" Robinson bought for his office. It's the office that city mayors used until City Hall moved from 50 W. King St. to its current location at 101 S. George St.

"He wouldn't answer," Nixon said. "My understanding is … some sensitivity training would be far more useful than furniture for (his) new office."

Nixon said he would speak with the mayor or city officials on Wednesday about Robinson's departure.

"With all the … problems and complaints and concerns I've heard, then having my own concerns, I think he is just not the right guy (for York)," the council president said.

About Robinson: Prior to taking over as York City's top cop in January, Robinson was Reading's deputy police chief.

Before that, he rose to the level of colonel in the Baltimore City Police Department and told the media he decided to come to York based on the relationship he'd developed with former city chief Troy Bankert.

"I didn't seek this job," he said a year ago.

It was Bankert who handpicked Robinson, city officials have said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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