Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Police"

James Rada, Jr.

Inflation rising. The Middle East in turmoil. Sections of the U.S. witnessed a solar eclipse. Paul McCartney played in groups that had one of the top songs of the year.

And so it was when a 23-year-old Greg Eyler became a police officer with Thurmont in 1979, and so it is as he retires on December 1, after 44 years as a police officer, the last 18 of which were as the chief of police of the Thurmont Police Department.

“It’s time,” Eyler said. “I’ve been here 18 years, which is really unheard of for a police chief.”

Eyler is believed to be the longest-serving police chief in Thurmont; although, for some reason, no one is able to verify the service dates for Chief Herman Shook, who happened to be the chief who hired Eyler as a police officer in 1979.

It was Eyler’s dream job. He grew up on Church Street in Thurmont and would see Thurmont Police pass by while he was out playing ball with his friends.

“I always heard and saw that they did a great job, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

Eyler graduated from the Montgomery County Police Academy in August 1979. He served as a police officer in his hometown until November 1980, when he transferred to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

As a sheriff’s deputy, he trained in many areas over his 25 years with the sheriff’s office. In September 1990, he was the first ever to receive the Department Commendation for Valor. He attended and graduated from The FBI National Academy in 1994. He retired from the sheriff’s office as a major in 2005.

He retired because then-Mayor Marty Burns and Commissioner Bill Blakeslee visited him to ask if he would consider becoming Thurmont’s chief of police. He thought it over for about a week before he accepted.

“I like challenges,” Eyler said. “This was a challenge, and I never regretted any of it.”

When Eyler took over as chief, the Thurmont Police Department had seven sworn officers and two civilian employees. They worked out of 500 square feet at the back of the old town office building.

“We had an I-bolt that went through the wall to the outside,” Eyler said. “That’s how we held our prisoners.”

Today, the department has fourteen sworn officers and six civilian employees in a modern building on East Main Street.

While Eyler and the department had many achievements during his tenure (see sidebar), he is most proud of how he improved the relationship between the police, the citizens, and the town staff.

“They did not get along back then, but you need to because that’s how you solve crimes when you all work together,” Eyler said.

He encouraged his officers to get out in the community and get to know the people they were protecting. As they did, respect between the community and the department grew.

As he prepares to retire, Eyler has no regrets.

“I think I did everything I could for the town, and they were appreciative of that,” Eyler said. “I’m a hometown boy, and this is what I wanted to do here in the town of Thurmont: Make this department one of the best that I can and make this town as safe as I can.”

Eyler has no plans for retirement. “I’m going to do what my wife, kids, and grandkids tell me,” he said.

He knows retirement will require an adjustment, beginning when he gets up in the morning and has to decide what to wear since his closet is full of uniforms. “I think I have to go shopping now because I don’t have anything to wear,” he said.

“Chief Eyler has served our community and the residents of Thurmont in an exemplary manner.  I can’t thank Greg enough for his professionalism and dedication to the Town of Thurmont. Our residents’ safety has always been his highest priority, and for that, we are sincerely thankful and appreciative,” said Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.  

Lt. David Armstrong will succeed Eyler as the new chief.

Mayor Terry Best swears in Thurmont’s newest Police Officer in 1979.

Chief Herman Shook welcomes Greg Eyler to the Thurmont Police.

The Town of Thurmont listed a number of achievements of the Thurmont Police Department under Chief Greg Eyler’s leadership when it announced his retirement after 18 years as the chief of police. During his years as chief, he has:

Initiated and managed the design, construction, and transition to the current TPD headquarters.

Expanded the department from 7 to 14 authorized sworn police officers and 6 civilian employees and expanded the Department training program to include specialized training.

Created and implemented a Detective/Investigator Position, Narcotics Detection K-9 Program, and Code Enforcement Officer Program.

Developed the TPD Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Values Statement, website, and social media account.

Expanded and redesigned the TPD vehicle fleet and department logo.

Developed and implemented first-ever Department Rules and Regulations and Job Descriptions for all employees; civilian and sworn; TPD’s first Disaster Plan for potential terrorist incidents and weather-related incidents; Special Operation Plans for Active Assailant Response, Police Involved Shooting Response, and COVID Response Plan.

Implemented state-of-the-art technology systems to allow for integration with other police agencies, including mobile data computers, in-car video cameras, LPR (license plate readers), E-TIX software, and body-worn cameras.

Enhanced community policing efforts by providing training from The Mid-Atlantic Regional Community Policing Institute for all sworn personnel. 

Created and implemented a TIPS line for anonymous tips from citizens and Thurmont’s automated speed monitoring program.

Joined the National Child Safety Council, which provides educational material relating to drug and alcohol issues, senior citizen scam assistance, missing and exploited children, and school safety.

Presented and received approval of the first-ever departmental pay scale and LEOPS program.

Coordinated, implemented, and managed Response Plans for large events, including G8 Summit, demonstrations, rallies, and the annual Colorfest event.

Expanded community outreach programs to include National Night Out, Safety Pup, traffic-calming initiatives, bicycle safety, and child safety seat installations.

He is a member of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, The Maryland Municipal Police Executive League, and the FBI National Academy Associates.

He has been recognized as CHS Distinguished Graduate for Public Service; Lions Club/Shumaker Roofing Officer of the Year and received the Enforcement Commendation medal presented by The Sons of the American Revolution.

During his tenure, the Town of Thurmont has been recognized as one of the safest communities in Maryland numerous times.

An Unusual Visit to Thurmont

by James Rada, Jr.

On June 20, 1923, a young Prince Georges County man had a visit to Thurmont that he didn’t enjoy.

W. E. Trego was a salesman for the Isaac A. Sheppard Co. in Baltimore, but he lived in Thurmont. While traveling from Roanoke, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., for work, he met Allan Immich, a 16-year-old from Takoma Park.

The two started talking, and when Allan heard Trego was from Thurmont, Allan told the older man of his recent visit to the town.

 Allan had been heading home earlier in the day. He had gotten off a streetcar near his Montgomery County home and was walking home when two men in a car stopped and asked him if he knew where Mr. Thomas lived. Allan knew Mr. Thomas and got in the car to direct the men to the house.

It was a bad decision.

“After going a short distance, the men in the car gagged and bound Immich while the car was traveling at a lively pace,” the Frederick News reported.

Allan didn’t know where they were going, but he heard the name “Frederick City” mentioned. They then stopped in Thurmont in front of a meat shop.

“One man entered a nearby store to get something to eat while the other guarded the boy,” the newspaper reported.

They then drove from Thurmont, hours away to Roanoke. Before entering the city, they men stripped Allan of nearly all his clothing and left him alone on the side of the road in his underwear.

Someone passing him on the road reported him to the police, and they came out to see what was going on. He explained what had happened, and they took him to the police station where he called his father.

Besides the story of his unusual trip, Allan told the police he had also seen burglar tools, blackjacks, guns, and liquor in the car.

His father wired money for a train ticket back to Washington. Allan was returning home when he met Trego on the train.

Thurmont Police tried to assist the investigation by questioning citizens if anyone had seen anything. Some people remembered seeing the car in town, but no one could remember.

It’s not known whether the men were ever captured, but nothing more was noted of the incident in the newspapers.

East Main Street in Thurmont around the time of the kidnapping.

Photo Courtesy of

James Rada, Jr.

Watching Majo jump around, waiting for Tim Duhan to throw a lacrosse ball, it’s hard to imagine that the nineteen-month-old German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix is a trained law enforcement officer. On the job, Majo is all business, as he tests the air for the scent of hidden narcotics.

“He’s 100 percent a puppy still, and he’s also ball crazy,” said Duhan, a corporal with the Thurmont Police.

Majo is trained as a narcotics dog and has been on the job since September 2018. He came from the Czech Republic, and the Thurmont Police purchased him from Castle’s K-9 Inc., a company in Pennsylvania that imports and trains police dogs.

The town had a budget of $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.

“Another couple of agencies wanted to make him (Majo) a dual-purpose dog, but we got him first,” Duhan said.

Some dogs can also be trained as a patrol dog, besides smelling for certain scents. This “bite work” is left to dogs with a temperament for it and a reputation for being tough like German shepherds or Doberman Pinschers.

“The town didn’t want a dog that would bite, though,” Duhan said. “They wanted a social dog, and Majo is very social.”

Majo also does his police work well. So far, he and Duhan have been called out for scans three times, and drugs were found every time.

This comes from Majo’s daily training. Duhan not only exercises him, he trains him through scanning scenarios.

“With a dog like this, he should be doing some sort of drug training every day,” explained Duhan.

Majo takes over the position of canine cop from Buddy, a black Labrador retriever who was medically retired in May. He was running and playing when he injured himself in an accident.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Duhan said. “I saw him running down the yard and turned away for a moment. When I turned back, he was doing a somersault and hit a tree.”

Duhan rushed over to Buddy and discovered that the dog couldn’t get his front legs to work. He rushed him to the veterinarian for care. It was discovered that Buddy had permanent nerve damage to one of his legs, and it had to be amputated.

“He still could have done the job, but the town was unable to get insurance for him,” Duhan said.

Buddy still lives with Duhan, his family, Majo, and Duhan’s large Pyrennes. The dogs get along well, except they fight over toys like children. Duhan will still let Buddy do drug scans because the retriever likes the activity.

“He watches me do it with Majo, so I also let him scan,” Duhan said. “Even after being retired, I could probably certify Buddy now.”

Corporal Tim Duhan stands with Majo, a trained narcotics dog with the Thurmont Police Department.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

The Optimist Club of Frederick held it’s ninth annual Fish with a Cop program on Saturday, June 9, 2018, at the Camp Airy pond in Thurmont.  There were twenty-seven boys and girls from across Frederick County that took part in the program. There were twenty-eight officers from the Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State Police, Frederick City Police, Brunswick Police, Thurmont Police, and the Natural Resource Police that participated in the program.

The officers picked up the children from their homes and transported them to the pond. They were then given a Zebco combo rod and reel, along with tackle from the Optimist Club. The officers worked with the kids on developing their fishing skills, along with developing a better relationship with law enforcement. When the fishing was done, the Optimist Club held a cookout and fish fry for the children and officers. The officers then took the children back home.

The following sponsors contributed to this program: Safeway Foods, Wegman’s, Weis, Giant Eagle, The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock for stocking the pond with trout, Camp Airy for use of their pond, Camp Airy Director Tim Olson for all of his assistance, Zebco for the fishing equipment, and Frederick County elementary schools. Because of these sponsors and policemen who volunteered their time, the children had a very memorable experience. The Optimist Club hopes that in a small way this connected the children in a positive way with law enforcement. Thanks again to all who helped with this program.

Pictured from left are: (first row) Damien Latenser, Nadeem Barry, Kenner Lopez, Kevin Gomez, Cameron Sweeting, Rekhai Snowden, Olivia Herrman, Brett Balderson, Austin Balderson, Kiley Quill, Liam Chalmers, Leroy Rambert, Cody Wilfong, Club President Earl Gamber, District Governor Bill Stone; (second row) Det. Jeff Putman, OFC. Scott Pyon, TFC. Jonathan Deater, Ofc. Sara Evans, Cpt. Dwight Sommers, STR. Nicholas Farioli, Cpl. Josh White,  Sgt. Paul Schur, MT. Matthew Crouse, Sgt. Todd Hill, Tr. Kyle Knowles, Cpl. Joshua Keeney, OFC McKenzie Divelbiss; (third row) Gavin Hasenei, Skyler Shoemaker, Marques Swaizer, Cole Stitely, Nathaniel Springer, Branson Strouth, Elizabeth Chang Mi Milam, Tylique Fletcher, Domingo Martinex; (fourth row) Cpl. Chad Adkins, O’Shay Rambeert, DFC. Samantha Foland, DFC. Nicholas Constantine, DFC. Ira Redman, Ret. Maj. Gary Morton, Cpl. Tim Duhan, Cpl. Jacquelyn Drukenis, OFC. Keith Donovan, Dep. Tyler Conaway, Antony Brown, DFC. Shayne Virts, DFC. Brian Stocks, Tr. Kyle Knowles, DFC. Gary Biser, Explorer Takin Abbasian, Explorer Addison White, William Smith, Darrin Frey, DFC. Sean Vanderwall. Not pictured: Lindsay Levine, senior associate advisor to the Sheriff’s Expolrers.