Wolf's pick for police commissioner goes before Senate panel

Written by Ben Allen and The Associated Press | Jun 3, 2015 8:41 AM

Photo by Mary Wilson/witf

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf's choice to lead the Pennsylvania State Police is appearing before skeptical Republican senators who, like the troopers' union, have asked the Democratic governor to withdraw Colonel Marcus Brown as his nominee.

Questions from Senate Law and Justice Committee members included Brown's position on gun control laws, the death penalty and his Baltimore city pension deal.

The panel is made up of seven Republicans and four Democrats, and Brown's appearance is part of the nomination process.

Some former state troopers take issue with Brown's decision to wear a trooper's uniform because he didn't rise through Pennsylvania's ranks.

He has spent most of his career with Baltimore's police force while his family lived in Camp Hill.

Brown removed signs critical of his nomination that were placed near his Cumberland County home by a retired state trooper in March. 

A midstate district attorney declined to press charges, instead saying both men should have known better.

Meanwhile, Governor Tom Wolf is trying to put the focus back on Brown's experience as former head of the Maryland State Police.

"I think on the basis, just on the strength of his resume, his qualifications, his background, I think he deserves to be, his nomination should be confirmed," he says, speaking on Radio Pennsylvania's Ask the Governor Program.

"He is a courageous person and is willing to go through this, the slings and arrows he's taken and I applaud him for that, and I could do nothing less than stand with him in this and I intend to do that."

The Senate committee will vote to recommend Brown, offer no opinion, or attach a negative rating.

Brown's nomination will then go to the full Senate, where a simple majority is needed to approve the nomination.

Some Republican senators have said Brown lacks enough votes for confirmation.

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