After Capitol siege, Hyattsville wants state to study police extremism

The Hyattsville City Council turns its attention to national politics at its Tuesday meeting, considering two measures focused on the attempted Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. The first would condemn President Trump and the attempted insurrection, while the second calls on Maryland legislators to study extremism in state police forces and to grant greater power to local officials dealing with “domestic terror” threats.

An African-American man wearing a dark suit sits at a wooden table with his hands clasped. He's looking directly at the camera. Behind him, a sign reads "Mount Rainier."

Mount Rainier police chief resigns for new job

Mount Rainier Chief of Police Anthony Morgan will resign in February, ending a two-year career leading the city police department. Morgan was the city’s first African-American police chief in its 110 year history. In an interview with Route 1 Reporter, Morgan said he had accepted another chief of police job at an department outside of Maryland, but declined to specify further because that department has not announced his hire yet. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve as chief of police for the last two years,” said Morgan in a statement posted to social media. “I have enjoyed working alongside a dedicated group of public safety professionals.”

Morgan’s appointment as the city’s top cop was announced Jan. 30, 2019.

New data sheds light on Prince George’s PPP loans

Nearly $1.2 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans went to Prince George’s County businesses and nonprofits to support more than 109,600 jobs, according to a Route 1 Reporter analysis of new, more-detailed data on the pandemic stimulus program released by the Small Business Administration earlier this month.

Extra $487,000 found in Mount Rainier budget

Mount Rainier’s budget was boosted by $487,000 found unaccounted for in the city’s bank accounts. For a city with an annual budget of about $7 million, it’s good news in an era when other local governments are bracing for steep declines in tax revenue as a result of the pandemic. Now, city officials are weighing a bill that would use the money for staff pay hikes, facility repairs, and economic development programs. 

According to interim city manager Latasha Gatling, the city was unaware it had this money. Gatling provided cursory details of the surprise surplus during a Dec. 1, 2020 City Council discussion of a budget amendment to allocate the windfall.

A large suburban strip mall is seen from above, at an angle. A sidewalk of street-facing retail, including a Shoe Show store, can be seen across a small two-lane circulator roadway.

Greenbelt officials say Beltway Plaza plans need work

The next step on the multi-phase redevelopment plans for Beltway Plaza is underway. Bethesda-based mall owner Quantum Cos. is gathering feedback on a still-in-the-works detailed site plan for first phase of the planned six-phase redevelopment. Most-recently, representatives from Quantum Cos. shopped their plans before Greenbelt’s City Council during a Nov.

P.G. Plaza Metro gets new name (that everyone hates)

The Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station will be renamed to Hyattsville Crossing, and many people hate the new name. 

The proposal was approved in a Nov. 19, 2020, vote by Metro’s board of directors. Along with Hyattsville Crossing, Tysons Corner will be renamed to simply “Tysons.” With the significant caveat that it’s not a scientific survey, survey data collected from the public before the name change vote showed only 33 percent of respondents like the new Hyattsville Crossing name, 48 percent did not like the name (with 35 percent saying they “strongly” disliked the name). The move is the culmination of a years-long effort by city economic development officials to develop a more cohesive identity for the neighborhood anchored by the Metro station. 

In a June vote, Hyattsville City Council approved a measure directing city staff to request the name be changed on official Metro maps in advance of the planned opening of Phase II of the Silver Line, which will require all Metro maps to be reprinted. The Metro station derives it name from the former Prince George’s Plaza mall, known today as the Mall at Prince George’s and branded as simply MPG by its owners REIT.

Reaction: Hyattsville chief resigns for Anne Arundel

Less than two years after being sworn in, Hyattsville’s Police Chief Amal Awad announced she will resign in December to be the chief of police in Anne Arundel County. 

“Leaving Hyattsville is bittersweet,” said Awad during a press conference announcing her appointment to the Anne Arundel County chief’s job. “I’m fervently thankful to the city of Hyattsville for allowing me to serve as their chief of police.”

“Chief Awad has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, depth of knowledge, professionalism, and grace in her service to the City of Hyattsville over the past three years,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who also recently announced her own resignation, in a statement. “I was only able to work with her for a short time, but she deserves a lot of credit for the direction of the department and I am excited for her and for the opportunities that are coming her way,” said Hyattsville City Councilor Daniel Peabody. “I will very much miss working with her in the city of Hyattsville.”

“During her time as Hyattsville chief, Awad modernized her department, won the respect of her officers and her community and worked through the challenges faced by police departments across the country,” Said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “She is a peacemaker and a consummate professional.”

Awad was sworn in as Hyattsville’s police chief Dec.