Baltimore Co. police chief to retire, national search for his replacement underway

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Photo via Baltimore County Police Department/Facebook

After more than 13 combined years at the helm of the Baltimore County Police Department, Chief Terrence Sheridan plans to retire in the middle of next year, newly installed County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. announced today.

Sheridan, who stepped in after Chief James Johnson retired with about a month’s notice in early 2017, will stay on the job for six more months. In the meantime, the county executive’s office said it will conduct a national search for his replacement.

“Chief Sheridan is a first-class public safety professional who is well-respected by his officers and the community,” Olszewski said in a statement. “We are very grateful for his service and that he has agreed to continue in his role as we take the time to select someone to replace him who will maintain the same high standards of service to our constituents and will achieve the consistently positive results we have come to expect in Baltimore County.”

Sheridan worked for the Maryland State Police for more than 30 years, rising to leadership positions with special operations and drug enforcement, before he was appointed chief of BCPD in 1996. He held the position until 2007, when he was appointed superintendent of the Maryland State Police. In 2011, he stepped away from that job to become a law enforcement adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence and Analysis Section, but returned last January after Johnson stepped down.

In his successful campaign for the county’s top office, Olszewski said he wanted to hire more officers, give them better technology to work with, prioritize the task of patrol and, most broadly, have the department adopt a “holistic approach” to criminal justice, with an eye toward improving police-community relations.

“It begins with bringing in a police chief committed to that same vision,” he told Baltimore Fishbowl this summer. “I think leadership starts at the top. And that’s coupled with supporting our law enforcement community with the resources they need. That means both hiring more officers so that we can do things like authentic community policing, that we can have officers get out of their cars and ride bikes or walk the street.”

During the first year of Sheridan’s second stint as chief, total crime in the county rose 4 percent from 2016, and the most serious category of violent crimes—that includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault—rose more than 14 percent. In the first half of this year, per the latest available data from the county, total crime declined by nearly 8 percent, and part one violent offenses fell 7 percent.

The county also saw a multiple police-involved shootings during Sheridan’s most recent tenure, including two separate shootings of shoplifting suspects by the same officer. He was also head of the department when four teens allegedly killed a police officer in Perry Hall, and when sexual assault plaintiffs sued the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the police agency and county prosecutors for allegedly covering up “justifiable complaints.” He also led the department as it finished deploying body cameras.

Separately, Olszewski also announced he would retain 10 officials currently serving in top positions for county departments and offices. All of them will need to be confirmed by the Baltimore County Council.

Ethan McLeod
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