Throughout his life, the great outdoors
has held a special attraction
for Lt. Greg Imhof of the Annapolis Police Department. It filled
his childhood with happy memories, and his love for the outdoors
decidedly affected his choice of careers. These days, he seeks
it when he needs to get away. He has created a haven in his yard
in which to relax so he can regroup from what can be a stressful
job. "I need my seclusion. I left much of my yard as natural woods
so I could enjoy the wildlife in the area," Imhof says. "I like
watching my bird feeder and the occasional deer that pops up.
I also have a hawk and an owl that visit my yard."
More than a year ago, Imhof purchased an RV so he and his family
can escape each weekend. "We keep it packed and ready to go during
the warm weather and head out to places like Deep Creek Lake and
Gettysburg. I get off work at 4 p.m. on Fridays and we can be
on the road an hour later. We can get there before dark and enjoy
an entire weekend away."
His affinity for the outdoors began as a child. "My home town
of State College, Pa., was surrounded by mountains and woods,"
he says. "My friends and I spent our days fishing and wandering
in cow pastures. I was a real outdoors kid." He describes State
College as a nice town to grow up in and recalls Joe Paterno,
the football coach for Penn State University, walking by his bus
stop each morning and saying hi. But when Imhof was 11, his father
was laid off. He was forced to move his family to Arnold to find
work. "Arnold was also a fun place to be a kid. It was a lot more
rural back then," Imhof says. He grew up across from where the
community college is now. At the time, the area was open fields
and woods where Imhof and his friends explored and camped out.
Early on, Imhof thought he would follow in his father's footsteps
and go into electronics, but in middle school he decided law enforcement
was what he wanted to do. "I knew I didn't want a job that would
keep me behind a desk. I wanted something that would allow me
to spend a great deal of my time outdoors." While in college,
he considered joining the military police, "But I knew as a lieutenant
I would spend much of my time behind a desk, and I didn't want
that." To help fulfill his dream, he graduated in May 1981 from
the University of Maryland with a degree in criminology and criminal
justice and, one month later, he joined the Annapolis Police Department.
"I pretty much went straight from college to the police academy."
Imhof believes he was drawn to police work because he's always
had a public service attitude. "During my childhood, my father
was a volunteer firefighter---he drove the ambulance. At the time,
the fire department shared a building with the police department,
so I guess you could say I grew up around public servants."
His childhood also left him with a strong sense of family and,
when he thought about where to make his home, family was the determining
factor. "I had a chance to go to Key West and work in its police
department, but all my family was here so I chose to stay. My
family makes this home." Imhof has an older sister and a younger
brother. "Annapolis has a lot of things to offer in addition to
my family. You have lots of cultural opportunities but, at the
same time, you have that small town feeling that I like."
Married six years in June, Imhof met his wife, Deborah, while
on the job. "She's a paramedic with the city and, at the time
I met her, I was working in internal affairs doing an investigation
for the fire department." He thought she was a witness in the
case. When he discovered she wasn't, he decided to ask her out.
"We found that we shared a lot of the same values. I also think
we connected because we both were in public service and used to
the shift work environment. We just understood each other." After
dating for more than a year, they were married. Now they are busy
raising two children, Melissa, a daughter from her first marriage,
and Jesse, a son from his. They also have four other important
members of their family---their dogs, Boots and Sam, and their
cats, Tigger and CC.
A member of the Annapolis Police Department for 22 years, Imhof
now serves in the office of the chief of police. He is responsible
for researching issues that come before the chief, reviewing all
internal affairs reports and use of force incidents, collecting
racial profiling data, and he does some teaching. He also is in
charge of accreditation and the $7 million renovation of the police
"After all this time, I still enjoy going to work each day. It's
always different and exciting," he says. "I mean, just when you
think you've seen it all, some person comes up with something
that amazes you."
Imhof started his police career as a patrol officer and rose to
the position of corporal, a first-line supervisor. He then served
briefly as the supervisor of the community-oriented police (now
known as Neighborhood Enforcement). "After that I spent the next
four years as special events coordinator. That was exciting. Not
only did I meet lots of people in the community, but I also had
the opportunity to meet Presidents Bush and Clinton." His next
assignment was in internal affairs where he spent six years as
After more than two decades of service, Imhof is getting close
to retirement and is unsure of what the future holds for him.
"I'm torn between going on to be a chief of police either here
in Annapolis or in another [location] or working part time in
another field and spending more time with my family."
No matter what his decision for the future is, he knows what he
hopes to accomplish with the remainder of his time on the force.
"When I first went into police work, my goal was to help people
and to make Annapolis a better place to live. I think I've helped
to accomplish both of those things and want to continue to do
so. I also want to continue to train the supervisors who are in
our department to strive toward high standards of personal accountability
and train them to be our future leaders. I hope they can carry
on the work ethic and traditions that I have helped establish
over the years."