After the Department of Justice announced its multi-count indictment against Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins on Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department held a press conference detailing Jenkins’ response and next steps for the law enforcement agency.
The sheriff was indicted by a federal grand jury for his part in an alleged illegal machine gun conspiracy in collaboration with local gun shop owner, Robert Krop.
Many have called for the sheriff’s suspension and even resignation while the investigation takes place. Other Frederick residents are touting, ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ the due process protections that are defined in the Constitution.
During the press conference, Todd Wivell, FSCO public information officer and spokesperson for Jenkins, provided a statement from the sheriff:
“I have been in constant communication with the DOJ and ATF for over a year and have been 100 percent cooperative throughout the course of this investigation. At the advice of my attorney and out of respect for the justice process, I am not providing any comment at this time.”
When asked if Jenkins would be placed on administrative leave following the indictment, Wivell responded, “He feels like he can still support the role of sheriff for Frederick County,” sheriff’s spokesperson Todd Wivell said. “We all as an agency believe in him and there are a lot of people in this county who believe in him, as well.”
Watch the press conference live here.
Governor Wes Moore released a statement that favors the investigation. It read:
“Sheriff Jenkins is facing serious criminal charges that are worthy of investigation and we expect that law enforcement officials will be thorough and fair, working in accordance with due process.
No one is above the law; we expect high standards from all public officials and trust that our institutions will work to both protect the rights of the accused and defend the interests of the citizens of Frederick County.”
To date, County councilman Kavonte Duckett remains the only voice in local government that has expressed a call to action for Sheriff Jenkins to step down during the federal investigation.
“I unequivocally condemn the action of any elected official which are inconsistent with integrity, trust, and good community service.
While the Council plays no role in the operation of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office beyond providing state mandated funding to the division, it is important that we hold all duly elected officials accountable.
I urge Sheriff Chuck Jenkins to place himself on an administrative leave of absence until this matter is resolved as he would require any deputy pending charges under his command.,” the statement read.
The Sheriff’s refusal to step down post-indictment is a contradiction to his policy just a week prior. Last month, Frederick deputy Allan Mandujano was charged with child abuse and assault. He was suspended immediately after.
Jenkins is due to appear in U.S. District Court next Wednesday, April 12th, with Krop appearing on Thursday.