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ARLINGTON NAMES NEW POLICE CHIEF

Last Wednesday, County Manager Ron Carlee announced that the county had selected M. Douglas Scott to serve as the new chief of the Arlington County Police Department. Scott is a former chief of the Fairfax County and Fairfax City police departments and was selected after a national search. He is expected to assume the chief's duties on April 21.

He will become the sixth chief of police since the department was created in 1940. Scott replaces Edward Flynn, who left Arlington in January to serve as Secretary of Public Safety for Massachusetts under new Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Since Flynn?s departure, Deputy Chief Steve Holl served as acting chief.

Scott began his career with the Fairfax County Police Department in 1975. In 1995, Scott was appointed chief for Fairfax County. He retired from Fairfax County in 1998, when he was named chief of the Fairfax City Police Department.

He served as Fairfax City chief until 2000, when he assumed his current duties as Assistant Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Interior, heading up a unit investigating allegations of serious misconduct by senior Interior Department officials.

After 25 years of work in local law enforcement, Scott said, the Department of the Interior just didn?t hold the same appeal as being in uniform. ?I?m just really anxious to get back into it,? he said.

BOARD REPEALS TOWING LAW

On Saturday, County Board members approved an immediate emergency repeal of the Arlington ordinance covering the right to tow cars from private property. The action came after recent legislative and court decisions called into question the ordinance?s enforceability.

Exorbitant towing charges are now handled under state law, so the board?s decision helped end a confusing situation brought about by a recent Circuit Court ruling and legislation passed in the U.S. Congress, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said.

The Circuit Court ruled that the state could not prosecute towing companies for overcharging when local ordinances were in place, and the Congressional action weakened the county?s regulatory ability, he said. So the Board decision means complaints against towing companies will be prosecuted under state law.

Among other limits, the board?s repeal removes the $65 cap on towing charges from private property, leaving in place the state cap of $85 on weekdays and $95 on weekends, evenings and holidays. Under state law, companies that charge more than those fees are subject to criminal prosecution.

As required when enacting an emergency repeal, the board also authorized the advertisement of a public hearing on the permanent repeal of the ordinance.