June 17, 1999
by Karl Hille
Berwyn Heights citizens and representatives of law-enforcement offices around the region spoke, sometimes tearfully, in honor of the town's outgoing Police Chief James F. Artis at a June 9 reception.
Artis resigned his post June 2 to work in the State's Attorney's office as an investigator. More than 200 town residents packed a reception at the Berwyn Heights Senior Center following the June town meeting.
"I've lived in Berwyn Heights 42 years, and when Chief Artis was appointed chief it was the best thing to ever happen to this town. I hate to see him go," said Charles Collier, breaking into tears as he spoke. Collier had served as town constable in the 1950s and 60s, before there was a chief.
"He is every bit a gentleman and a person of integrity. Jim is the epitome of integrity, and he's going to be a very difficult person to replace," said Councilman Darald Lofgren, the council member in charge of the police department.
"I'm really going to miss the chief, because every morning when I'm taking my granddaughter out to school, he's driving up my street. ... After seeing him on my street every morning, it felt kind of lonesome if I didn't see him. It made me feel really comfortable and secure," said Berwyn Heights resident Pat Bryan.
Artis was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Linda Dunlap-Artis, and children, Frank and Leslie.
In addition to the residents who spoke, representatives of other law enforcement agencies who Artis has worked with came to wish him well.
Barry March of the FBI presented a certificate of recognition to Artis from Louis Free, director of the FBI. Representatives of the Anne Arundel Sheriff's Department, Anne Arundel County Police and Maryland State Police, as well as Prince George's County's District 1 Commander Jim Hunt testified to Artis's level of cooperation with their departments.
"Jim is a true professional. Nationwide chiefs of police only last about two years. The fact that Jim has been here for six years means you're doing something right," said Hunt to the Town Council.
Artis promised he would not be a stranger to Berwyn Heights and said the town would always have a place in his heart.
"Berwyn Heights has grown on me. The word indelible comes to mind. I see the Berwyn Heights [bumper] sticker every now and then, driving down [interstates] 295 or 95, and it always makes me feel good," said Artis.
"Integrity in this type of job is vital, because the job has to be done, not some way, but the right way," he said
Artis took a job with the State's Attorney's office as an investigator. Although he has already begun some investigative work, he said he has not been in that department long enough to give a comprehensive description of the scope of his new duties.
Before working with the Berwyn Heights Police Department, Artis served 20 years with the U.S. Army as a military police officer.
He worked with military intelligence and participated in a nationwide incident response team.
Cpl. Tom Moroney, the station's current officer in charge, said the town will begin advertising to find a replacement through organizations such as the Maryland Municipal League and retired police officers' associations in the area. Moroney also said he intends to apply for the position.