- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002

Newly elected Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson said yesterday he's finished responding to critics and now wants to focus on reducing crime, reforming the police department, improving the school system and the economy.
"The people of Prince George's County 120,000 of them decided to vote for me," Mr. Johnson said. "So I don't have to defend what my opponents say. And I'm not going to. It's time to move on."
Mr. Johnson, a Democrat and Prince George's state's attorney, was criticized during the elections for being soft on crime and for the way he prosecuted accused rogue cops.
He soundly defeated Republican challenger Audrey E. Scott on Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin.
Mrs. Scott, 66, spent $100,000 on ads that claimed Mr. Johnson had a poor conviction record in rape and drunken-driving cases. The ads also were critical of Mr. Johnson's record on convicting officers in police-misconduct cases.
In response, Mr. Johnson said he has a 90 percent conviction rate over the last three years.
"Their attacks were so far from the truth," he said. "For eight years, nobody complained about anything I've done until the campaign. They've got to complain about something."
To be sure, the county's Fraternal Order of Police said during that same time Mr. Johnson was too overzealous in prosecuting police officers accused of wrongdoing.
Yesterday, FOP Vice President Percy Alston said the police force is willing to work with Mr. Johnson.
"We'll never forget what was done and what we've been through with Mr. Johnson," he said. "But we realize that he won the race. He's in office now. He's going to have to work with us, and we're going to have to work with him."
Mr. Johnson said more detailed plans would come early next week when he announces his transition team.
Among his first tasks likely will be revamping a police force that has come under federal investigation for brutality.
Mr. Johnson was born into a rural South Carolina farming family and graduated from Howard University Law School in 1975. He worked for the Internal Revenue Service, was a law school teacher, then served as deputy to State's Attorney Alex Williams. Mr. Johnson was elected state's attorney in 1994 and served two consecutive terms.
He replaces County Executive Wayne K. Curry, who leaves after completing a two-term limit. Mr. Curry did not endorse a candidate for the job, which pays $101,000 a year.
Douglas M. Duncan, 47, who was elected Tuesday to his third straight term as Montgomery County executive, receives a salary of $124,302 a year.
Mr. Duncan, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Eric Anderson, a 40-year-old business consultant, by a 3-to-1 margin.
He spent much of his time before the election touting the intercounty connector highway, an east-west highway that he hopes will ease congestion north of the Beltway. Mr. Duncan told the Times yesterday that he was excited about the project's chances of success because the County Council now supports the project by a 6-to-3 majority.
"I hope they go on record and vote to go ahead with it soon," he said.
Council member Nancy H. Dacek, a Republican who opposed the project, lost her District 2 seat yesterday to Democrat Mike Knapp.
He said another big challenge is establishing relationships with Republican Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the General Assembly.
"We're expecting a lot more money for our children," Mr. Duncan said. "We're hoping they come through for our schools."
Arlo Wagner contributed to this report.

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