Outgoing Chief Jim Johnson (left) and incoming Chief Terrence Sheridan

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced a major leadership change at the top of his county’s police department today. After 38 years of service, Police Chief James Johnson is slated to retire at the end of the month. To replace him, the department is bringing back former chief Terrence Sheridan.

Johnson has led the Baltimore County Police Department since 2007. He first joined the force in 1979 as a cadet in the 911 center and gradually rose through the ranks from there on out, holding “virtually every position in one of the largest police departments in the nation,” according to his bio page.

But his time now appears to be up. Kamenetz announced today that Johnson is planning to retire on Jan. 31. He will be replaced by Sheridan, who served as chief of police from 1996 to 2007 before being made superintendent of Maryland State Police. He worked that job from 2007 to 2011. Recently, he’s been working as a law enforcement advisor to the Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence and Analysis Division.

“Jim Johnson served this county faithfully and honorably for 38 years, and we are grateful for his service,” said Kamenetz in a statement. “However, at this time we choose to go in a different direction, and I wish Chief Johnson well.”

Of his incoming police chief, Kamenetz said Sheridan’s “impressive resume and impeccable reputation will assure that we continue to maintain the highest standard of service that we expect from our police department.”

The department notes in Johnson’s bio that violent crime has dropped 26 percent during his time as chief. In 2016, Baltimore County police met with plenty of controversy (see: the late Korryn Gaines and Tawon Boyd, Buzzfeed’s sexual assault investigation) but ended the year on solid footing numbers-wise. The department reported on New Year’s Day that it achieved a 106 percent clearance rate for homicide cases, made possible by solving 28 cases from 2016 along with nine old homicide cases from past years.

Sheridan will take over for Johnson on Feb. 1 and will serve in the position until Kamenetz’s term ends in December 2018.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...