After devoting nearly half of his life to the Maryland State Police, Frederick barrack Commander Lt. Wayne Wachsmuth is hanging up his stetson and boots.
Wachsmuth, a 1987 graduate of Linganore High School, was appointed commander of the Frederick barrack in 2014. Wednesday marked his final day at the office. He oversaw 39 troopers and seven civilians as of his last day.
Wachsmuth, 51, has served as a trooper, investigative trooper, sergeant, detective sergeant and lieutenant in a little over 24 years with the state police. Eighteen of those years were spent at the Frederick barrack.
“Some of the best men I’ve ever known have worked at the Frederick Barrack,” Wachsmuth wrote in an email. “I have also greatly enjoyed working many operations with the Frederick Police Department and their exceptionally fine command staff and with the United States Secret Service and their local missions.”
He was also assigned to the Westminster and Hagerstown barracks, according to a previous News-Post story. He worked as a correctional officer and spent several years in the U.S. Navy, as well.
First Sgt. Jim Egros, assistant commander of the Frederick barrack, will serve as acting commander while the department hunts for a permanent replacement. He’s been with the state police for 15 years, and he ensures the public won’t notice a change in service while the department undergoes this transition. It’s “business as usual,” according to Egros.
He praised Wachsmuth for his devotion to the department.
“He’s been a great asset to the community and served Frederick County well,” Egros said.
Greg Shipley, spokesman for Maryland State Police, anticipates a new commander will be appointed by Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Woodrow Jones III by the end of 2020 or early next year. The commander may be someone promoted to the rank of lieutenant or a current lieutenant who is transferred, according to Shipley. State police executive command staff will review promotions and transfer requests, then submit their recommendation to the superintendent for final approval.
Achieving the rank of lieutenant is a competitive process, Shipley wrote in an email, that involves a performance evaluation, a test, a graded resume and oral interview. This occurs for each rank up through captain.
“Therefore, someone who reaches the rank of lieutenant is a person who has exhibited outstanding law enforcement skills, as well as excellent supervisory and leadership skills through each of their previous ranks, all while obtaining additional education and training that makes them continually competitive in the promotional process and able to advance,” Shipley wrote.
Shipley described the retiring lieutenant as someone with a deep commitment to the community.
“We are especially grateful for his confident leadership during his years of service as the commander of the Frederick Barrack,” Shipley wrote. “His professionalism as the barrack commander ensures a smooth transition for the new commander.”
Wachsmuth, in an interview, recalled the Frederick barrack’s success. As commander, he helped lead the Frederick barrack to be among the top barracks in the state for drug trafficking arrests and developed operations that yielded the greatest number of distracted driving traffic stops/enforcement for any county in the state.
“I like to think the Frederick barrack has been one of the greatest leading barracks in the department,” he said in an interview.
The Frederick barrack, under Wachsmuth’s leadership, piloted a college student internship program in 2015 that can now be found in state police barracks across the state, he said. Frederick troopers also hosted career nights for three consecutive years, inviting dozens of colleges and high schools, according to Wachsmuth.
The retiring commander has racked up a number of awards throughout his career, including a Governor’s Unit Citation for underage drinking prevention in 2001 and recognition for covert surveillance during the capture of the D.C. metro snipers in 2002. Early in his career, Wachsmuth rescued a domestic violence victim as shots were fired toward her and police in 1998.
Wachsmuth expressed gratitude to his wife Tracy and son Nathaniel — a Pennsylvania State Trooper — for supporting him through what can be a difficult career.
“I am grateful to my family who has stood by me during the hard times and celebrated with me during the most rewarding times,” Wachsmuth wrote.
Wachsmuth intends to retire to Pennsylvania and start a home improvement business in southwestern Pennsylvania. He obtained a Maryland Home Improvement License earlier this year and hopes to do the same up north.